Translated in meaning as “White Moon”, Tsagaan Sar (Цагаан сар in Mongolian Cyrillic) is Mongolia’s most recognized national holiday. The school was on a 1-week break, and the celebration in Tsetserleg began on the night of Bituun, the day before Tsagaan Sar. On this eve, I walked up the town’s all-famous Bulgan Mountain to take the night view of Tsetserleg while others climbed to set up candles and make New Year wishes.
On the way to Bulgan Mountain, we stopped by the Monastery to do Mongolian rituals.
The night view of Tsetserleg from Bulgan Mountain looks like this, with the monastery in the middle.
It was windy and -20 degrees Celsius, so we hurried down. I took one more shot of the mountain for a good measure. Due to wicked wind, many candles were blown off, otherwise the mountain would have had an astounding display.
The next morning, I met up with my expatriate buddies in town to watch the ‘New Year’ sunrise. I had never been to this hill, which faces the Bulgan Mountain across the town, and the view was gorgeous. The killer wind didn’t let us endure very long, so we ran down as soon as we greeted the sun.
During the Tsagaan Sar holidays, I was invited to a few houses of my counterparts. Tsagaan Sar food typically looks like this…
Frankly, I’m not a big fan of Mongolian cuisine, but I did enjoy the presentation. Many people engage in a Buuz tally to count who eats more Buuz. The outcome is usually a food coma and a wasted next day, but it’s all for the fun!
With my Peace Corps friends, I visited an English teacher’s home. My American buddies wore Dells, Mongolian traditional costumes, as a way of showing their love for the Mongolian culture. I guess I didn’t do a good job of expressing my respect. Better wear it next year!
(All pictures courtesy of my Korean blog jjsoh.tistory.com)