top of page

The Lunar new year 2023 is the year of Rabbits in Mongolia

The lunar new year is the biggest celebration and holiday in Mongolia. Each year this celebration takes place on a different day in January or February according to the horoscope, all family members visit the eldest parents’ home. This is the time of the year to be introduced the real Mongolian culture and people.

This year's Lunar new year is on Sunday, February 21, 2023, beginning the year of Rabbit and ending the year of Tiger. In Mongolia, each year is represented by one of the 12 zodiac animals. The animal sign is believed to dominate the year and influence the character and destiny of people born in the year.

The customs of the lunar new year are significantly different depending on the region. Families follow the symbolism of Buddhism during the “Tsagaan sar-Lunar new year”. For example, they offer food and candles at the altar. Also, people greet each other with holiday-specific greetings such as “Amar bain uu?”, meaning "Are you living peacefully?

Mongols also visit friends and family on this day and exchange presents. A typical Mongol family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family. Many people will be dressed in full garments of national Mongol costumes. When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongols perform the zolgokh greeting, grasping them by their elbows to show support for them. The eldest receives greetings from each member of the family except for his/her spouse. During the greeting ceremony, some family members hold long, typically blue, silk cloths called a khadag to parents or elders.

After the ceremony, people eat sheep's tails, beef brisket, rice with curds, dairy products, and buuz. It is also typical to drink airag – mares milk and exchange gifts.

The day before Tsagaan Sar is called Bituun, the name of the lunar phase of a new or dark moon. The lunar phases are Bituun (dark moon), Shined (new crescent moon), Tergel (full moon).

On the Bituun day, people thoroughly clean around the home, and herders also clean the livestock barns and shades, to meet the New Year fresh.

The Bituun ceremony also includes burning candles to symbolize enlightenment of the samsara and all sentient beings and putting three pieces of ice at the doorway so that the horse of the deity Palden Lhamo deity could drink as the deity is believed to visit every household on this day. In the evening, families gather together—usually immediate family, in contrast to the large feast gatherings of White Moon day — and see out the old year eating dairy products and buuz. Buuz is a steamed dumpling filled with beef or mutton. Traditionally, Mongolians settle all issues and repay all debts from the old year by this day.

7 views0 comments


bottom of page