Sunday, February 22, 2015

family / ger bul

It is Tsagaan Sar time in Mongolia. This is their Lunar New Year Celebration and one of the two major holidays that I will be celebrating with my new family (Naadam, in mid July, being the second). This year Tsagaan Sar is being celebrated Feb 19-21 (next year it falls earlier, on Feb 9-11). 
Zorig's immediate family

This picture includes Zorig's immediate family. From left to right: Majig (Zorig's mother), Togtoh (Zorig's father's mother), Zorig, Enji (Zorig's son), and Borkhuu (Zorig's father). For the purpose of privacy, I'm not posting the picture that shows the entire family, but will tell you that the count was about 26 people, from toddler to elderly. And not everyone had arrived just yet! Zorig tells me that a number of his cousins speak English, so until I can get some Mongolian under my belt, I won't be standing quiet in the corner (and really, who has ever known me to do that?). But I can tell you that I will be the only Western face in the picture. While Zorig's sister is married to a German man, she lives with him and their children in Germany and only visits Mongolia on occasion. 

Tsagaan Sar is a time when the family, ger bul in Mongolian, gathers together, beginning in the home of the eldest living family member. For us this will mean the home of Zorig's grandmother, Togtoh, on his father's side of the family.

Majig and Togtoh

In addition to lots of food and fellowship, gifts are also given for Tsagaan Sar. 

Here are a couple pictures of the food spread. I confess I don't find it especially appetizing, but then I'm not yet there and can't smell or feel it. Next year will be so much better when I can participate in the festivities. There is dried yogurt which I had the opportunity to try for the first time not so long ago. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I liked it. It was both sour and sweet. It may require further testing to decide. :)

With the exception of the gifts, Tsagaan Sar seems more like our Thanksgiving--gathering together with family and eating a little too much. :)

I was happy to be able to celebrate New Year's with Zorig on Dec 31/Jan 1. We did that at my father's house in Michigan. A new year for a new life. 


  1. I see cucumbers; all is not lost. :)

    1. Yes, cucumbers are frequently used. Also small tomatoes (not sure if grape or cherry), as well as cabbage (one of my favorites).