Tsagaan Sar

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Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian New Year)

Between end of January and beginning of March
The New Year in Mongolia is determined by a lunar calendar and marks the beginning of spring. People generally celebrate for three days with lots of visiting, feasting, music, and sporting events. Tsagaan Sar means "white month," a reference to the milk and other dairy foods which become more plentiful in the spring.
People begin getting ready for the holiday about a month ahead of time, making repairs to and cleaning living quarters and sheds, preparing food in advance, and buying or fashioning gifts. The night before New Year's Day is Bituun, the occasion for parties to say goodbye to the old year.
After the New Year has begun, people often wear new clothes and spend at least a couple of days paying brief visits to family members, friends and neighbors, giving a small, inexpensive gift to each, then returning home to be themselves the recipients of visitors and gifts. Many gers, the tents in which Mongolian nomads live, resound with music played on traditional string instruments and overflow with special festive foods and drinks during the holiday.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Mongolia
2833 M St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
202-333-7117; fax: 202-298-9227
www.mongolianembassy.us
Mongolia Today (online magazine)
www.mongoliatoday.com
SOURCES:
FestWrld: Mongolia-1999, p. 12
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