The festival of the lunar New Year, Tsagaan Sar, is celebrated in or around February depending on the Mongolian lunar calendar. Tsagaan Sar, meaning White Month or Moon, is one the main two big public annual events, next to the Nadaam. It marks the end of Winter and the beginning of spring and the new year´s cycle.
The day before New Years Day is known as Bituun, meaning “to close down”. At the eve of the old year there is a celebration called Bituuleg.On this day, families put a feast of sheep rump, layers of traditional cookies that erected on large plates by odd numbers and decorated with candies and dairy products, airag (fermented mares milk), rice cooked with curd, steamed and boiled dumplings and much more on the table.
Later traditional games can be played, and oral histories are told. It is said that at Bituun Baldanlham, a local god, is riding her mule during this time. She would be coming by three times so every family puts three pieces of ice on the top of the door of the ger, or on the balcony for people living in an apartment, for the mule to drink.
On the morning of the New Year traditionally the head of the family goes outside and walks in a direction which is prescribed in a book of Buddhist astrology. During New Years day itself the children honour their senior relatives. They start with their parents and then following the rules of genealogical seniority the other relatives, traditionally presenting them an amount of white food or pastry, but nowadays more and more other gifts as well. White and blue scarves, khadag, are presented to the most honoured. The rest of the festival which goes on for several days, is a celebration of present kinship. It is an occasion to publicly define your kin.
Traditionally the celebration would last for three days, but a period of seven days is currently aloud for visiting people and up to a month for wishes.
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