Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tsagaan Sar Explanation
Tsagaan Sar is the Mongolian New Year and means 'White Moon'. For those of you who follow Tibetan Buddhism, yes it is at the same time as Losar—the majority of Mongolians are Tibetan Buddhists. The tradition on Tsagaan Sar is to visit your elder relatives whose children will serve you airag (fermented mare's milk), buuz (steamed meat buns), salads, vodka, and milk tea. You will also note the large full roasted lamb sitting on the table and large stack of cakes piled in odd numbers to represent the good and the bad (always ending with the good). There are traditional greetings which include extending your arms out and supporting the arms of your elders, sniffing at each cheek, exchanging and using snuff from lovely little bottles, and drinking and eating. I was graciously hosted by three families and the following three posts have short explanations and photos of each family. Imagine being a herder, living far away from your friends and family. Coming together and paying visits to your elders is from what I understand not only a fun tradition, but if you are living out in the countryside (unlike the families shown here) the holiday could be a survival mechanism as well. How are your sheep fairing this winter? Saikhan shinelerei and happy year of the ox.