Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve in Mongolia

Fireworks above the Blue Sky
Two New Years in Mongolia. There are two new year celebrations in Mongolia. One celebration comes on the calendar new year and is celebrated by Santa bringing gifts, family and work celebrations and parties culminating in raised glasses toasting in the New Year.

It is a festive, joyous celebration full of good cheer and conviviality. Cakes are a must on this holiday. The stores are packed as people get ready to celebrate.

The second new year celebration is the lunar new year. In Mongolia it is called Tsaagan Sar or white month. This year it will be celebrated at the end of January.

The main purpose of this holiday is for family and friends to visit each other in their homes with the oldest family members being visited first. Families prepare elaborate meals and gifts for their guests as well as engaging in traditional hospitality rituals. 

It may take a week or more to complete all the visits. Besides Nadaam, Tsaagan Sar is the most important holiday of the year. In a month, you will learn a lot more about Tsaagan Sar.

Let the wild rumpas begin. Last year we missed New Year's Eve because of sickness. This year we were up to it.
View from our hotel room about 8:30 pm
The Gardners rented a hotel room on the 13th floor at the Blue Sky skyscraper on Sukhbaatar Square and invited all the senior couples to come and celebrate the New Year with them.
Sisters playing scrabble
Everyone brought food and treats and we had a great time visiting and playing games. 
Sisters Wood, Stewart and Nay
We practiced the Macarena for the New Year's ball the next night. 
Puje holding up a video of the Macarena on her smart phone while Sisters Farmer and Wood take it in

Elder Stewart and I went down to the square to take in the atmosphere and get to photographs.

New Year's crowd in front of Sukhbaatar and the New Year's tree
Chinggis Khan presides over the whole affair from his seat in front of the Parliament building

The night was the best night in a month - clean air and mild above zero temperatures.
There was an entertainment stage set up for live music, two ice skating rinks and several warming barrels with fire to provide comfort. 

Santa made a landing with his sleigh and two of his reindeer.

Celebrating with "Father Winter"
At midnight, the Mongolians brought with them cups and beverages and toasted in the New Year with their friends and family members.

We did too with our imitation bubbly with an unappetizing name
We went back to the Gardners' room and finished visiting -
Puje and Elder Stewart celebrating the New Year
then all of us except the Gardners and Puje went down to the square before midnight to join the celebration and to watch the fireworks from below.

The evening ended with a half hour fireworks show directly above our heads - up close and personal.

One of the embers of a spent fireworks landed within a yard of where we were standing.

It was a great display of fireworks.

We were glad to experience this time of year in Mongolia see and participate in their New Year celebration.  
State of the art video displayed on a bank building
                               Happy New Year everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Brian and I were at a firework show in Sukhbaatar square for Naadam. I know what you mean about up close and personal. People were dodging flying pieces of burning debris left and right. It was extremely memorable. I am so glad that you were feeling good this year for New Year's and had a great time. There was never such a production like that when we were there. Actually, maybe there was... The younger missionaries kept their same schedule of 10:30 bedtime for New Year's, so we would have been asleep during the celebration. I always love the pictures of the reindeer. Right out of a story book.