Mongolian Tsagaan Sar approaches


According to historical sources, ancient Mongolians marked the beginning of a year mostly on the threshold of winter with a ceremonial offering of meat, which would be distributed to every member of the tribe.

In 1207, Year of the Red Rabbit, the beginning of a year was marked in spring for the first time, on the first day of the first lunar month of the season, Chinggis Khaan rose early, prayed to the heavens, made offering to the ancestors, and greeted his mother Oulen.

Since that time, the celebration of a new lunar year has developed into the ceremonious national festival Tsagaan Sar, which translates as either White Moon or Month, indicating the central role of traditional dairy products. It is believed that although dairy products aren’t plenty in spring, the festival symbolizes the whitening of the black month of spring with the white dairy food. The Tsagaan Sar festival has specific customs that are generally observed nationwide such as wearing new deels and jewelries, exchanging snuff bottle, greeting each other with best wishes, eating curd rice, setting a festive table and more. 

There was a time when Tsagaan Sar customs were banned due to their connection to religion. Only herders were allowed to celebrate Tsagaan Sar since the 1950s to 1990, Year of the White Horse, when the festival returned to every household.