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The Mongolian Lunar New Year, commonly known as Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian: Цагаан сар, Cagán sar / ᠴᠠᠭᠠᠨ ᠰᠠᠷᠠ, Mongolian pronunciation: [t͡sʰaɢaːŋ sar] or literally White Moon)[note 1], is the first day of the year according to the Mongolian lunisolar calendar. The festival of the Lunar New Year is celebrated by the Mongols along with the people of the Arctic.

Tsagaan Sar
Also called Lunar New Year (as a collective term including other Asian Lunar New Year festivals, used outside of Asia.)
Mongolian New Year
Mongol New Year
Cagaan Sar
Observed by

Mongolia, Siberia, Northern China and other Arctic regions

Type Cultural (Mongolian and Arctic)
Religious (Buddhist and Shamanist)
Significance New Year holiday
2016 date February 9, Monkey
2017 date February 27, Rooster
2018 date February 16, Dog
2019 date February 5, Pig
Frequency Annual
Related to Chinese New Year, Japanese New Year, Tibetan New Year, Korean New Year, Vietnamese New Year
Tsagaan Sar meal



The White Moon festival is celebrated on the first through third days of the first lunar month. Tibet's Losar occurs on the same day as the Mongolian White Moon. Tsagaan Sar is one of the most important Mongolian holidays.[1]


The customs of Tsagaan Sar is much different depending on the region. In Mongolia around the New Year for example, families burn candles at the altar symbolizing Buddhist enlightenment. Also people greet each other with holiday-specific greetings such as Амар байна уу? (Amar baina uu?), meaning "Are you living peacefully?"[2] Mongols also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongol family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family.[3] Many people will be dressed in full garment 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.[3] During the greeting ceremony, family members hold long, typically blue, silk cloths called a khadag.[1] After the ceremony, the extended family eats sheep's tail, mutton, rice with curds, dairy products, and buuz. It is also typical to drink airag 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), and Huuchid (waxing moon). On the Bituun day, people thoroughly clean around home, 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 could drink as the deity is believed to visit every household on this day. In the evening, families gather together—usually immediate family,[3] in contrast to the large feast gatherings of White Moon day — and see out the old year eating dairy products and buuz. Traditionally, Mongolians settle all issues and repay all debts from the old year by this day.[3]


Depending on the region, the food is much different. For example, the traditional food in Mongolia for the festival includes dairy products, rice with curds (tsagaa-цагаа) or rice with raisins (berees-бэрээс), a pyramid of traditional cookies erected on a large dish in a special fashion symbolising Mount Sumeru or Shambhala realm, a grilled side of sheep and minced beef or minced mutton steamed inside pastry, steamed dumplings known as buuz, horse meat and traditional cookies.[4] Tsagaan Sar is a lavish feast, requiring preparation days in advance, as the men and women make large quantities of buuz as a whole family, along with ul boov, a pastry reserved for both dessert and presentation.[3]

During communismEdit

During Mongolia's Communist period, the government banned Tsagaan Sar and tried to replace it with a holiday called "Collective Herder's Day", but the holiday was practiced again after the 1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia.[5]


The Mongol calendar in the Tegus Buyantu (Төгсбуянт) system is a lunisolar calendar. The Tegus Buyantu astrology was developed by Mongol high priest Luvsandanzanjantsan (1639–1704), the first reincarnation of the Blama-yin Gegegen (Ламын гэгээн).[6] Tsagaan Sar is celebrated on the first through third days of the first lunar month.

Gregorian year Mongol year Transliteration Tsagaan Sar Element and animal
1989 Цагаан Tsagaan February 7 – February 10 female earth Snake
1990 Машид согтонги Mashid sogtongi February 26 – February 28 male iron Horse
1991 Төрөлхтний эзэн Törölkhtnii eeen February 15 – February 17 female iron Goat
1992 Ангира Apgira February 4 – February 7 male water Monkey
1993 Цогт нигурт Tsogt nigurt January 25 – January 30 female water Rooster
1994 Бода Boda February 11 – February 13 male wooden Dog
1995 Насан төгөлдөр Nasan tögöldör January 31 – February 5 female wooden Pig
1996 Баригч Barigch February 19 – February 21 male fire Rat
1997 Эрхэт Erkhet February 8 – February 10 female fire Ox
1998 Олон үрт Olon ürt February 28 – March 2 male earth Tiger
1999 Согтох төгөлдөр Sogtokh tögöldör February 17 – February 19 female earth Rabbit
2000 Тийн дарагч Tiin daragch February 5 – February 8 male iron Dragon
2001 Сүргийн манлай Sürgiin manlai January 24 – January 26 female iron Snake
2002 Элдэв Eldev February 13 – February 15 male water Horse
2003 Наран Naran February 2 – February 4 female water Goat
2004 Наран гэтэлгэгч Naran getelgegch February 21 – February 23 male wood Monkey
2005 Газар тэтгэгч Gazar tetgegch February 9 – February 11* female wood Rooster
2006 Барагдашгүй Baragdashgüi January 30 – February 1 male fire Dog
2007 Хамгийг номхотгогч Khamgiig nomkhotgogch February 18 – February 20 female fire Pig
2008 Хотолыг баригч Khotolyg barigch February 8 – February 10 male earth Rat
2009 Харшлалт Kharshlalt February 25 – February 27 female earth Ox
2010 Тийн урвагч Tiin urvagch February 14 – February 17 male iron Tiger
2011 Илжиг Iljig February 3 – February 5 female iron Rabbit
2012 Баясгалан Bayasgalan February 22 – February 25 male water Dragon
2013 Тийн ялагч Tiin yalagch February 11 – February 13 female water Snake
2014 Ялгуусан Yalguusan January 30 – February 1 male wood Horse
2015 Галзууруулагч Galzuuruulagch February 19 – February 21 female wooden Goat
2016 Муу нүүрт Muu nuurt February 9 – February 11 male fire Monkey
2017 Алтан унжлагат Altan unjlagat February 27 – March 1 female fire Rooster


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Russia Buriat: Сагаан һараб, translit. Sagán ħarab, lit. 'sagaːŋ ħarap'; Oirat: Цаһан сар, translit. Cahan sar, IPA: [t͡sʰahan sar]; Altay: Чага-Байрам; Sakha: Үрүнь Ый, translit. Ürüny ıy; Northern Sami: Vielgatguovssahasat; Inuktitut: ᐊᐳᑦᑕᖅᑭᖅ, translit. Aputtaqqiq; Greenlandic: Aputqaqortoq, Chinese: 查幹薩日; pinyin: Chágàn Sàrì, Xiao'erjing: ﭼَﺎقً ﺻَﺎژِ‎; Dungan: Санган сари, Sangan Sari


  1. ^ a b "Tsagan Sar: The Mongolian Lunar New Year". Mongoluls. 2007. March 13,
  2. ^ Амар байна уу? (Are you rested/peaceful?)
  3. ^ a b c d e "Tsagaan Sar, the Lunar New Year"
  4. ^ Kohn, Michael. Lonely Planet Mongolia. Lonely Planet, 2008, ISBN 978-1-74104-578-9, p. 44
  5. ^ Marsh, Peter. The Horse-head Fiddle and the Cosmopolitan Reimagination of Tradition of Mongolia. Routledge, 2009, ISBN 978-0-415-97156-0, p. 136
  6. ^ a b Л. Тэрбиш. Монгол зурхайн цаг тооны бичиг