WHITE MONTH NATIONAL HOLIDAY - Traditional Mongolian Lunar New Year

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Mongolian Lunar New Year

Tsagaan Sar or White Month is one of Mongolia's two major and long-awaited holidays, the other being Naadam in July. For Mongols, Tsagaan Sar is not only an ancient holiday marking the end of winter and the beginning of a new year's cycle, but is also a time for unification and reinforcing social bonds. Preparations for the festive start well ahead of time. Several families usually gather in the eldest man's ger (traditional dwelling), where the holiday will take place. Since the holiday means all relatives, neighbors, friends and guests will be treated to a lavish meal, women make more than a thousand buuz and dumplings. Ready dumplings are lined on wooden plates and put outside. The next day, the frozen buuz are ready to be steamed. Families all across the country stock-up on food, dairy, mild milk vodka and other specialties for the occasion.

For more than 2,000 years Mongolians have been celebrating Tsagaan Sar or the White month, to mark the end of winter and beginning of spring. The holiday takes place January- February according to the lunar calendar. Tsagaan Sar is the celebration of new life and symbolizes wealth and prosperity in the family. The holiday is celebrated for three days where the elderly and most respected and close family members are visited first. The holiday provides opportunity for people to gather, celebrate and exchange news and gifts. Families prepare for the holiday a month in advance by making plenty of food and gifts. In rural areas, due to distance and weather conditions, the celebrations at times can last longer than a month. Buddhist monasteries and temples hold rituals and services



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