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Happy White Month ​​​​

Mis à jour : 22 févr. 2018

Happy White Month everybody!

White Month (White Moon) or Tsagaan Sar in Mongolian, is the first day of the Year according to the Mongolian Lunisolar calendar. Mongolian Lunisolar calendar is not same as the Chinese one. Here is some information if you are curious to know more about it.

It is the biggest celebration in Mongolia and is a very traditional one.

I liked White Month when I was a kid. We made thousands buuz for the occasion. I wrote a little about buuz in my previous post. We used to freeze them outside as temperature drops to minus 25°C - 30°C during this period. The mission of my sister and I were keeping eye on them, counting, packing the frozen ones and report it to our mom like any other Mongolian kids. When it is dark you have to be very vigilant because of cats and dogs. As it is a very time consuming work the neighbors and friends helped each other. My older siblings used to bring their friends and my mom, who was very meticulous, examined and controlled every step. My sister and I fought to stay beside them to listen their conversation, jokes and anecdotes when it was time to go on our mission.

Then we prepared especial biscuits and cook uuts, a sheep's entire back with its tail that is enormous and full of fat.

And it is time for reconciliation and paying debts.

On the Bituun, the Tsagaan Sar's Eve, everybody cleans their houses and courtyards. We get rid of everything considered bad. I loved the evening of Bituun. It was always especial for me!

Then the long-awaited Tsagaan sar, also the first day of spring arrives. Everybody gets up early, gets in their thirty-one (we wear our traditional costumes) and greets each other. We call it zolgolt as it is a special kind of greeting that is done during Tsagaan Sar. When two greet, both extend their arms, palms turned up, specially the younger ones. Younger family members support the elders at the elbows from below and the older family member kisses the other on both cheeks. Sometimes the greeting is done with Khadag, a symbolic blue scarf, through which we express our respect. The couples don't greet each other though.

And there the festivities start. People visit each other’s homes in order of age like youths go elders’ home to greet. We offer the guests milk tea first and then the other dishes like buuz, meats, salads etc whether they want or not. The hosts of the family generally provide gifts for the visitors. This way, the feast continues officially for three days, but in practice, it often goes on for much longer when family members travel long distances to greet one another. The elders' houses get full all day around.

During the Tsagaan Sar, some extra weight is inevitable. Imagine visiting at least 5 families during one day and eat dumplings each time. Refusing what they offer is not polite.

Happy White Month! Сар шинийн мэнд хүргэе!

PS: My English is limited. I am sorry for possible errors and misspellings! I started this blog thinking that writing would improve my language skills. Thank you for visiting!

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