February 1st marked the first day of the New Year in the Mongolian solar-lunar calendar.
This traditional holiday is called Tsagaan Sar, which means ‘White Moon’. Tsagaan Sar represents the coming of spring and the awakening of nature.
The celebrations begin on ‘Bituun’ (the day before the New Year) as everyone gathers with family inside their newly cleaned homes, wearing their best clothes. Together, they enjoy large feasts toensure an abundant year ahead – dumplings and dairy are plentiful. Many of the traditions are developed to incite positivity and prosperity for the remainder of the year.
The morning after, it’s custom for everyone to greet the first sunrise of the year. The men climb to the top of the nearest hill, while the women watch from home and prepare milk tea to offer to the earth and God for the health of their family. Officially, Tsagaan Sar is 3 days long, however, the first 15 days are significant. During this time, Mongolians make time to visit relatives, neighbours and elders. Everyone is met with a Zolgokh greeting; a greeting where 2 people outstretch their arms and the youngest’s
arms are placed below to grasp the older one’s elbows in support.
This year, 2022, is the Year of the Water Tiger
The 3rd of the 12 cyclical zodiac animals, each with unique characteristics. The animals are paired with 1 of 5 elements that also rotate over the years. The elements, metal, water, fire, wood and earth, provide further unique traits to those born on that year. Those born in 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022 are believed to have strong interpersonal relationships and are very family oriented.
These people are born to bring a smile to our faces.