Tsagaan Sar / White Month 2012

Date: 21 Feb – 23 Feb 2012
Location:Jargalant sum, Tuv aimag
Description: Tsagaan Sar is also known as The Mongolian Lunar New Year.

Around the New Year families burn candles at the altar symbolizing enlightenment. Also people greet each other by saying ‘Amar mend uu?’ or ‘Amar bain uu?’, a very formal greeting which one says to one’s elders. Mongols also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongol family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family. Many people will be dressed in full garment of national Mongol costumes.

When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongols grasp them by their elbows to show support for them. The eldest receives greetings from each member of the family except for his/her spouse. During the greeting ceremony, family members hold long pieces of colored cloth called khadag. After the ceremony, the extended family eats rice with curds, dairy products and buuz and drinks airag, and exchanges gifts.

The day before Tsagaan Sar is called Bituun, the name of the lunar phase of dark moon. The lunar phases are Bituun (dark moon), Shined (new crescent moon), Tergel (full moon), and Huuchid (waxing moon). On the Bituun day, people thoroughly clean around home, herders also clean the livestock barns and shades, to meet the New Year fresh. The Bituun ceremony also includes burning candles to symbolize enlightenment of the samsara and all sentient beings and putting 3 pieces of ice at the doorway so that the horse of the deity Palden Lhamo could drink as the deity is believed to visit every household on this day. In the evening, families gather together–immediate family usually, in contrast to the large feast gatherings of White Moon day–and see out the old year eating dairy products and buuz. Traditionally, Mongolians settle all issues and repay all debts from the old year by this day.

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