Tsagaan Sar, which translates to “White Moon” in English, is the Mongolian lunar new year celebration that occurs in late January or early February. The holiday is the most important and widely celebrated festival in Mongolia and marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
The celebration of Tsagaan Sar is steeped in tradition and symbolism. The holiday is a time for families to gather, pay respects to their ancestors, and welcome the new year with good fortune and prosperity. One of the key traditions of the holiday is the exchange of gifts and greetings, known as zolgokh or “blessing”.
During Tsagaan Sar, people wear their best traditional clothing, known as deel, and visit relatives and friends. The youngest person in the family traditionally greets their elders with a bow, and they are given a gift of money or sweets in return. Special foods are prepared for the holiday, including buuz (steamed dumplings), khushuur (deep-fried meat pies), and aaruul (dried curd).
In addition to family gatherings and gift exchanges, Tsagaan Sar is also a time for spiritual and cultural activities. People visit temples and perform special religious rituals to pay respects to their ancestors and to seek good fortune for the coming year. There are also traditional sports and games played during the holiday, including archery, wrestling, and horse racing.
Tsagaan Sar is deeply rooted in Mongolian history and culture, and it has survived centuries of political and social change. The holiday reflects the values of Mongolian society, including a deep respect for family, community, and tradition.
In conclusion, Tsagaan Sar is the most important and widely celebrated festival in Mongolia. The holiday is a time for families to gather, pay respects to their ancestors, and welcome the new year with good fortune and prosperity. Through its traditions and customs, Tsagaan Sar reflects the values of Mongolian society and serves as a vital link to the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage.