The Lunar New Year Mongolia
For more than 2.000 years Mongols have been celebrating Tsagaan Sar, literally the white month, to mark the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. This three-day holiday usually occurs in late January or February. As Tsagaan Sar is observed according to the Lunar calendar the actual date varies from year to year. Each year of the 12 year cycle of the Lunar calendar is named after one of 12 animals: Rat, Bull, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Cock, Dog and Pig. Families traditionally kill the fattest sheep. In addition there are a great variety of milk products, and buuz (beef and mutton dumplings). Mongolians are very hospitable people. Visitors are expected to try every dish and tip a few glasses with the host. Toasts are usually made with mare’s milk wine (airag) or arkhi distilled from fermented cow’s milk.