Vera Doldaeva, About Tsagan Sar
Vera talks about Tsagan Sar. This is her story: Tsagan Sar is the most joyous and long-awaited celebration. On the other hand, it is also a heavy day, because it symbolizes the time when the goddess Okn Tengri went to an evil monster in order to save humanity. During Tsagan Sar people purify their homes and yards with incense. In the times of Chingis Khan people celebrated Tsagan Sar in late autumn when the first snow fell. Today people celebrate it in spring. Tsagan Sar, which literally means ‘white month’, is called so because white is the color of milk. Before Tsagan Sar people make bortsg biscuits so that their house is filled with smoke. There are biscuit varieties that are used as offerings to gods, for the house consumption, and given away as presents. When one fries bortsg in a pan, it’s forbidden to use vegetable oil or pork fat. The following biscuit varieties are meant as offerings to gods: tselvg, kit, and moshkmr. For presents people make khorkha and togsh. For the house: tselvg, moshkmr, zhola and khorkha varieties. About the symbolism of bortsg varieties: zhola, this biscuit symbolizes longevity and a long road, khorkha symbolizes abundance and fertility. During Tsagan Sar it is important to pray to Okn Tengri. One should also offer the presents (he/she had received from relatives) to gods. A greeting that people say to each other is: ‘Did you pass the winter successfully?’ The celebration lasts for a month, and people rejoice at the fact that Okn Tengri saved humanity from the evil monster. People should consume a lot of dairy products, including milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream and butter. Newly-married brides should pay a visit to their parents and relatives. The parents should give their married daughters a robe and sheep’s legs (shin) to their daughters’ children. In the evening children play games involving ankle bones. Grown-ups sing songs and dance. The temples carry out special services. According to a folk belief, during Tsagan Sar ground squirrels appear from hibernation.