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Mongolian Lunar New Year

Tsagaan Sar
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Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian White Month

Tsagaan Sar or White Month is one of Mongolia's two major and long-awaited holidays. The White Month holiday is celebrated two months after the first new moon following the winter solstice and finds its name from the white winter or milk dishes. The festival marks the passage from the winter to the beginning of a new year's cycle. The festival is also a time for unification and reinforcing social bonds. Families gather together, to celebrate and eat traditional food and respect is expressed to the elders, relatives and friends.

Bituun is the evening before lunar New Year and the last meal of the year. Dinner is lively, everyone has to feel cheerful and food must be plentiful. That evening, one must try all the dishes, meaning a long dinner late into the night.

On Shiniin Negen, the first day of Lunar New Year everybody wakes up very early in the morning to see the first sunrise of the year and everybody wear their best deel, the traditional clothes. From here they will go to visit their closest family members, usually in order of age, offering the traditional Tsagaan Sar greeting, respect and best wishes for the coming year.

On the second and third day of Tsagaan Sar, Mongolians will visit their friends, continuing the process of greetings, eating and drinking.


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