|Milk products and sweets on sale for Tsaagan Sar|
We are 80 percent back to normal but we are babying ourselves a little in terms of only doing necessary activities.
|One table of game players after our Taco Salad feast|
Senior couples pre-Tsaagan Sar get-together. The senior couples met for a Taco Salad potluck on Saturday night. We all miss Mexican food in Mongolia so we do our own. We played games afterward. We enjoy these social times together. President and Sister Clark were out of town and couldn't join us. This was our first outing socially in over a month.
|Scrabble players - a new couple, the Englands joined us. He has a badge on and Sister England is in the blue sweater.|
|Darlene looking at Tsaagan Sar products on sale at Sky supermarket|
It is also a time to have a new beginning, to reflect on the past and to make plans for the future. Mongolians prepare for the feasting of Tsagaan Sar many weeks in advance, buying and preparing food, cleaning and decorating their gers. Many Mongolian people will dress in deels (traditional Mongolian dress costumes) during Tsaagan Sar.
|Last minute shoppers tasting holiday breads and sweets|
To mark the festival, Mongolians purge their bodies and minds of all that is bad and start their lives afresh. They pay off old debts from the previous year.
Most of all, they gather together to express respect to their elders, relatives and friends, reconfirming their social bonds. Families gather together, to celebrate and eat traditional food such as buuz (meat dumplings), uuts (grilled sheep’s tail), Ul boov (pastry), yak’s milk and rice.
The celebration begins the night (Bituun) before the Lunar New Year with a lavish meal for the immediate family. Mongolians believe that if you begin the New Year with a full stomach, then good things will surely follow.
|Mongolians tend to overspend for this holiday like we do for Christmas|
The value of gifts is unimportant to the ceremony; consideration is the important factor. Traditionally older people are offered khadags and younger people sweets, according to custom strong drinks are only offered to the over 40’s.
People will sing songs and play games in their gers as they welcome and greet their guests. Following greetings, more food is placed on the tables and the eating and drinking starts over.
During the second day of Tsagaan Sar, Mongolians will visit their friends’ houses, continuing the process of greetings, eating and drinking. On the third day they will gather together in their workplaces for more of the same.
We will make visits next week and will show you Tsaagan Sar hospitality and greetings.
|The gers are mostly on hillsides making water transport difficult|
|Everybody does their part|