White Moon

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White Moon Tsagaan Sar

***** Location: Mongolia
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observance


Mongolian Lunar New Year, commonly known as Tsagaan Sar
(Mongolian: Цагаан сар; or literally White Moon)
is the first day of the year according to the Mongolian lunar calendar. The festival of the lunar New Year is celebrated by the Mongols. The White Moon festival is celebrated one months after the first new moon following the winter solstice. Tsagaan Sar is one of the most important Mongolian holidays.

Around the New Year families burn candles at the altar symbolizing enlightenment. Also people greet each other with holiday-specific greetings such as Амар байна уу? (Amar baina uu?), meaning "Is there peace?"
Mongols also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongol family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family.[3] Many people will be dressed in full garment of national Mongol costumes. When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongols perform the zolgokh greeting, grasping them by their elbows to show support for them. The eldest receives greetings from each member of the family except for his/her spouse. During the greeting ceremony, family members hold long, typically blue, silk cloths called a khadag. After the ceremony, the extended family eats sheep's tail, mutton, rice with curds, dairy products, and buuz. It is also typical to drink airag and exchange gifts.

The day before Tsagaan Sar is called Bituun, the name of the lunar phase of a new or dark moon. The lunar phases are Bituun (dark moon), Shined (new crescent moon), Tergel (full moon), and Huuchid (waxing moon). On the Bituun day, people thoroughly clean around home, herders also clean the livestock barns and shades, to meet the New Year fresh. The Bituun ceremony also includes burning candles to symbolize enlightenment of the samsara and all sentient beings and putting 3 pieces of ice at the doorway so that the horse of the deity Palden Lhamo could drink as the deity is believed to visit every household on this day. In the evening, families gather together--immediate family usually,[3] in contrast to the large feast gatherings of White Moon day--and see out the old year eating dairy products and buuz. Traditionally, Mongolians settle all issues and repay all debts from the old year by this day.

Traditional food for the festival includes dairy products, rice with curds (tsagaa-цагаа) or rice with raisin (berees-бэрээс), a pyramid of traditional cookies erected on a large dish in a special fashion symbolising Mount Sumeru or Shambhala realm, a grilled side of sheep and minced beef or minced mutton steamed inside pastry, a dish known as buuz, horse meat and traditional cookies.
Tsagaan Sar is a lavish feast, requiring preparation days in advance, as the women make large quantities of buuz and freeze them to save for the holiday.
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Worldwide use

The New Year in Japanese Haiku lasts from January 1 to 15.

Shoogatsu 正月 used to co-incide with the first month of spring in the old lunar calendar, from the new moon to the full moon on the 15.
Therefore it was also the first month of spring in the old system.

Many kigo of this "early spring / new year / January as late winter" time bracket need to be checked carefully.

When the new saijiki were compiled according to the solar calendar, a fifth season, the NEW YEAR was introduced to avoid these complications. Many of the preparations for the New Year, done in December, are also problematic with respect to the season.

. New Year - Saijiki .

Things found on the way


White moon's (Tsagaan sar) eve night

is an only one night of a year that the moon is not seen in the sky.
Mongolians celebrate White Moon Eve in the evening. Tomorrow (February 11) the first day of the year and first day of spring. We greet elders and celebrate this day widely.

White Moon eve...
the brightest moon rises
in my soul

White Moon morning...
a horseman welcomes
the rising sun

White Moon ...
my son with a new deel
is very obedient

- Shared by Zaya Nergui -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013


herders's day
in Mongolia - meeting
the white moon

Vessislava Savova

Related words

***** . New Year - Saijiki .



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