- Title: MONGOLIA: Mongolians partake in traditional New Year celebrations
- Date: 3rd February 2011
- Summary: TUV AIMAK, SERGELEN SOUM, MONGOLIA (FEBRUARY 2, 2011) (REUTERS) SNOW-TOPPED MOUNTAIN FAMILY GER (YURT) IN FRONT OF MOUNTAINS HORSES AND MAN WALKING ON MOUNTAIN VARIOUS OF HERDER FEEDING HAY TO COWS MAN LAYING HOLIDAY CLOTHES DEEL OVER FENCE MAN HITTING DEEL WITH STICK TO CLEAN WOMAN POLISHING TEA KETTLE WOMAN'S FACE OLD WOMAN UNTANGLING DECORATIONS WOMAN'S HANDS UNTANGLING DECORATIONS YOUNG WOMAN HANGING UP DECORATIONS WOMAN TACKING UP DECORATIONS VARIOUS OF WOMAN PREPARING SEVEN LAYER DISH MAN RIDING ON AND DISMOUNTING HORSE MAN WALKING INTO GER
- Embargoed: 18th February 2011 12:00
- Location: Mongolia, Mongolia
- Country: Mongolia
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz
- Reuters ID: LVADTE73XV7QHZ3XYM09UT05LEZ9
- Story Text: On Mongolia's stark white terrain, families gather to celebrate the coming of the Lunar New Year with Tsagaan Sar, or the White Moon holiday.
Tuv Aimak, a small village in Mongolia's central regions, was the site of traditional celebrations for sheep herder Gombosuren and his close family.
The Lunar New Year represents a time for Mongolian families to gather together to prepare for and celebrate the holiday and send their wishes for the coming year.
The New Years Eve, also known as Bituun, was celebrated on Wednesday (February 2) and represents a time for families to reunite, clean their homes, make food, and prepare for the next day's festivities.
Families prepare their traditional new year attire, adorn their gers, circular tent-like homes, with traditional New Year decorations, and prepare several foods for the holiday.
On the New Year, families eat beef, lamb, and buuz, a traditional dumpling filled with minced mutton and vegetables.
Another staple food is a tower-like dish made of stacked levels of milk, bread and sugar, with each level representing a decade their oldest relative has lived.
Before retiring for the night, all families place three pieces of ice atop their ger, as an offering for the horses of the gods that visit them on New Years.
Ahead of the sunrise on the following day, Mongolians rush to greet the sun and share their offerings, as they believe it bring them good luck for the coming year.
On leaving the house, Mongolians head in an auspicious direction and return home according to wealth-bringing coordinates.
The family members traditionally climb to a sacred cairn at the top of a hill called an ovoo, circle it three times and give offerings before watching the sunrise.
They will burn incense, conduct various prayer rituals, and provide offerings like milk, bread, and meat to the gods, as they believe the caim ritual will bring luck, well being, and energy for the whole year.
Many believe that the first sunray to hit the wall of their ger signifies the arrival of the New Year, and time to greet their New Years guests.
Respect for the elderly is an important part of the day and many grasp their elbows as a traditional form of greeting, implying respect and support for the older generation.
After the many rituals, the families enjoy their New Years feast, give presents, celebrate each other's company, and share their wishes for the New Year.
For land-locked Mongolians, sandwiched between Russia and economically mighty China, preserving traditions that stem from nomadic practice and Buddhist beliefs is seen as an important factor for keeping their cultural independence.
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