Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian: Цагаан сар, white moon or white month) is the Mongolian lunisolar New Year festival. It is often celebrated around the same time as the Chinese New Year (sometimes a lunar month later). However, the Mongolian Tsagaan Sar is culturally more related to the Tibetan New Year or Losar than to the Chinese New Year.

The White Moon holiday is celebrated two months after the first new moon following the winter solstice. In 2009, White Moon fell on February 25, and in 2010, it was on February 14. Tsagaan Sar is one of the most important Mongolian holidays.[1]

Around the New Year families burn candles at the altar symbolising enlightenment. Also people greet each other by saying 'Amar mend uu?' or 'Amar bain uu?', a very formal greeting which one says to one's elders. Mongolians also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongolian family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family. Many people will be dressed in full garment of national Mongolian costumes. When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongolians grasp 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, family members hold long pieces of colored cloth called khadag. After the ceremony, the extended family eats rice with curds, dairy products and buuz and drinks airag, and exchanges gifts.

The day before Tsagaan Sar is called Bituun, the name of the lunar phase of 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 symbolise 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--immediate family usually, 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.

Traditional food for the festival includes dairy products, rice with curds (tsagaa-цагаа) or rice with raisin (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 mutton and minced beef or minced mutton steamed inside pastry, a dish known as buuz, horse meat and traditional cookies. Tsagaan Sar is a lavish feast, requiring preparation days in advance, as the women make large quantities of buuz and freeze them to save for the holiday.


The Mongolian calendar in the Tegus Buyantu (Төгсбуянт) system is a lunisolar calendar. Tsagaan Sar is celebrated on the first through third days of the first lunar month.

Gregorian year Mongolian year Tsagaan Sar* Element and animal
1989 February 7 - February 10 female earth snake
1990 February 26 - February 28 male iron horse
1991 Төрөлхтний эзэн February 15 - February 17 female iron sheep
1992 Ангира February 4 - February 7 male water snake
1993 February - February female water ape
1994 Бода February 11 - February 13 male wooden dog
1995 February - February female wooden hog
1996 Баригч February 19 - February 21 male fire mouse
1997 Эрхэт February 8 - February 10 female fire cattle
1998 February - February male earth tiger
1999 February - February female earth rabbit
2000 February - February male iron dragon
2001 Сүргийн манлай January 24 - January 26 female iron snake
2002 Элдэв February 13 - February 15 male water horse
2003 Наран February 2 - February 4 female water sheep
2004 Наран гэтэлгэгч February 21 - February 23 male wood ape
2005 Газар тэтгэгч February 9 - February 11* female wood rooster
2006 Барагдашгүй January 30 - February 1 male fire dog
2007 Хамгийг номхотгогч February 18 - February 20 female fire hog
2008 Хотолыг баригч February 8 - February 10 male earth mouse
2009 Харшлалт February 25 - February 27 female earth cattle
2010 February 14 - February 17 male iron tiger
2011 February 3 - February 5 female iron rabbit
2012 February 22 - February 25 male water dragon


  • Note: The start date of Tsagaan Sar depends on what time zone one is in. For example, in 2005, Tsagaan Sar started on February 8 in the United States time zones and February 9 in Asia time zones.


  1. "Tsagan Sar: The Mongolian Lunar New Year". Mongoluls. 2007. March 13, 2008. <>
  2. Л. Тэрбиш. Монгол зурхайн цаг тооны бичиг

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Tsagaan Sar. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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