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Sagaalgan, the main national holiday of the Buryats

Ayushiyeva Mydygma Bazarovna
МАОУ «СОШ № 35», Улан-Удэ

The New Year in Buryatia is celebrated in February according to the lunar calendar. It is called Sagaalgan. Sagaan means white so Sagaalgan is associated with the white colour of milk symbolizing long life, happiness and richness.
Before Sagaalgan the Buryats go to the Datsans where the Lamas hold special services for a better life for all living being. Sagaalgan starts at dawn before the first rays of the rising sun on the 1st lunar day of the white month. It is considered that the Goddess is flying in the sky counting all living beings. That is why уфevery family should make a special fire, add small pieces of boiled meat and “white dish” to greet the goddess to the fire and give fresh tea with milk to nature.
All people in colorful national degels visit the relatives. The first people to be honored are the eldest ones in the family. The ceremony begins with greeting each other in special way: the elder one puts his palms down on the hands of the younger one wishing Happy New year. This gesture symbolizes that the old generation can always find support from the youngsters and the youth demonstrate their respect to them. The man’s palms should cover the woman’s hands as well as the boy’s palms cover the girl’s hands. The children also get presents: banknotes and sweets.
Then all the family is treated to tea with milk. Then the main dish comes – a whole boiled lamb’s rump. It is put in a large plate with big pieces of boiled meat on bones. According to the custom, the head of the family cuts lamb slightly and passes the pieces to the guests. Then they are treated to hot booza (a national meat dish).
The holiday continues for the whole month. There are a lot of national sports competitions at the stadiums, concerts of favourite singers, ensembles, folk groups at the theatres and in squares of Ulan-Ude during Sagaalgan.

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