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Interesting facts about Tsagaan Sar

By B.DULGUUN

Ul Boov (Pastry)

Ul Boov or Kheviin boov are the long round pastries stack up to create the main dish of Tsagaan Sar. These round pastries are stack up in three or more layers, but the number of layers has to be in an odd number as each layer represents fortune and misery. The layers must always end in fortune. The maximum number of Ul Boov set up is 81. Many may be curious to know why this pastry is named Ul Boov (sole pastry). People are able to connect to the earth through gravity and receive energy from it through the soles of their feet. People are able to travel from one place to another thanks to their feet. Walking represents advancing forward and therefore, the pastry is named Ul Boov.

Early Tsagaan Sar

Centuries ago, Mongolians used to celebrate the new year in late autumn as they used to hunt animals and prepared food for the coming year during this time. They called this month the Red Month as they spilt a lot of animal blood. Since 1206, when Ikh Mongol Nation was established, Mongolians celebrated the New Year in the early months of winter, calling it Tsagaan Ideenii Bayar (Dairy Festival), at the order of Chinggis Khaan.
From 1952 to 1990, the festival became known as “Malchdiin Bayar” (Herder’s Festival) and was celebrated by only herders. The whole nation began celebrating Tsagaan Sar in 1990, in the hope that the new year be plentiful and erase all bad and misfortunes of the previous year.

Here are some interesting facts about Tsagaan Sar:
1. On average, a household prepares 700 to 1,000 buuz for Tsagaan Sar.
2. According to a survey conducted by mass.mn, the excessive costs of Tsagaan Sar is becoming burdensome for most households. 71.8 percent of the people who took the survey said that preparing gifts for Tsagaan Sar is too burdensome, and 47.2 percent of people suggested presenting gifts to only children during the celebration, while 24.6 percent of people opposed to giving gifts and said it should be stopped.
3. Tsagaan Sar is actually a combination of four celebrations. The four celebrations are for welcoming the new year, becoming a year older, overcoming winter and greeting spring, and finally, a celebration for all family members to gather, greet, and enjoy talks about the previous year.
4. It’s a taboo for a husband and wife to exchange greetings with the traditional zolgolt custom as it brings conflicts and even separations.
5. Mongolia used to have a peculiar entertainment named ram race during Tsagaan Sar. When herders were inquired about how many livestock they had, they had to lie and increase the actual number of livestock they had. This was done in the hope to increase their livestock to that amount.

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