February 26, 2024
Mongolian Culture

Tsagaan Sar 2024: The Year of the Angry Mother Wood Dragon

Tsagaan Sar 2024: The Year of the Angry Mother Wood Dragon

Tsagaan Sar | 2024: The Year of the Angry Mother Wood Dragon

Tsagaan Sar which means ‘White Moon’ marks the first day of the Mongolian Lunar New Year, which typically falls in late January or early February. This celebration is a warm welcome for spring's upcoming arrival and nature's awakening. This year, Tsagaan Sar takes place from February 10th to February 13th! 

The day before the New Year (February 10th) is called “Bituun” (it is also the phase of the lunar cycle where the moon is new or the phase of the dark moon) and on this day preparations for the celebrations and gatherings begin.  Inside their freshly deep-cleaned homes, Mongols gather to exchange greetings and gifts such as cheese and yogurt, as well as other traditional items like snuffboxes and belts.  They have a large feast, enjoying their traditional food (which includes ‘buuz’, which is steamed meat dumplings and ‘khuushuur’, also known as deep-fried meat pastries), and drink. They wear their best traditional attire and engage in various cultural activities, such as playing games and performing traditional dances. Additionally, as they travel from home to home, they incite positivity and prosperity in each other to ensure an abundant and fruitful year and participate in spiritual rituals, such as visiting temples or offering prayers to ancestors.

After Tsagaan Sar, Mongolians traditionally observe several customs. One such custom is to welcome the first sunrise of the new year. Men climb to the nearest hilltop to witness it, while women offer milk tea at home as an offering to the earth and God for the health of their family. Although Tsagaan Sar officially lasts for three days, the first 15 days are considered significant. During this time, Mongolians prioritize visiting relatives, neighbours, and elders. Each visit is marked with a Zolgokh greeting, where two people extend their arms, and the younger person places their hands below the elder's elbows as a sign of respect and support.

Beyond the food and clothing, Tsagaan Sar is a time for Mongolians to unite and celebrate their shared culture and history. The festival is an opportunity for people to honour their ancestors and connect with their heritage. It is also a time for younger generations to learn about their traditions and customs from their elders, ensuring that these practices are passed down and preserved for future generations.

Moreover, Tsagaan Sar is a colourful and vibrant event promoting community spirit and strengthening social ties between families and generations. Visiting and exchanging greetings with relatives, neighbours, and elders, is a significant aspect of the festival, and it serves as a way to build and reinforce local relationships seamlessly, promoting a sense of belonging and mutual support within the community.

2024: Year of the Angry Mother Wood Dragon

Goodbye to the Year of the Rabbit (2023), and a warm welcome to the Year of the mighty Angry Mother Wood Dragon (2024). Legend has it that the sequence of animals in the Chinese zodiac was established through a race, wherein the dragon and Rabbit secured the fourth and fifth positions. During the race, the Angry Mother Wood Dragon assisted the Rabbit in crossing the river and reaching the finish line, positioning the rabbit at 4th. 

So in 2024, we not only embrace the dragon but also acknowledge the wood element. The Angry Mother Wood Dragon is believed to usher in transformative energy, instilling passion, confidence, and positive change. Together, let us embrace the spirit of the Wood Dragon and embark on a year filled with change and growth.

We're wishing a very happy Tsagaan Sar to our Mongolian brothers and sisters that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting along the way!



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