Residents of the Baikal region call the traditional new year’s eve celebration Sagaalgan. The day of celebration is calculated in a special way according to the lunar calendar for several years in advance. In 2021, the celebration falls on February 12, the first day of the next year according to the traditions of Buddhism. Friday will become a non-working day on the territory of the TRANS-Baikal territory, according to the official status of the holiday in the Republic. Sagaalgan marks only the beginning of a new period. The entire first month from the planned date is considered by local residents to be white, i.e. pure time of good deeds, purification of souls, and maintenance of family customs. This was the case in ancient times, and will continue after 2021.
Origins of the celebration
Religious and philosophical teaching Buddhism, in particular Lamaism, is popular among residents of the Irkutsk region, Khakassia, and the Altai Republic. Buryat new year, as the Sagaalgan holiday is called, unites thousands of people of different nationalities, and many residents of Siberia celebrate it.
The next celebration in 2021 has its roots in ancient Mongolia. The origins of the name Sagaalgan are connected with the ancient milk festival Sagan SAR, which was held in autumn. The countdown of the “white month” was initially associated with the completion of harvesting dairy products for the winter. During the reign of Khan Kublai, the grandson of Genghis Khan, the celebration was moved to the end of winter, associated with the phases of the moon. Tibetan Buddhism with local customs became the basis of a new tradition to celebrate the new year according to the astrological calendar. Sagaalgan is revered in the Republic of Buryatia, the center of Buddhism in America, and far beyond. The wide spread of the holiday due to the linguistic characteristics of the peoples explains the name variants:
- at the Siberian Tatars-Tsagan AI;
- Tuvans have Shagaa;
- the inhabitants of the Altai – Chaga-Bairam.
The day of February 12, 2021 for the celebration in Buryatia was calculated by Buddhist priests, it is associated with the onset of the first new moon in the coming year. Fixed dates at a holiday there, sometimes it is at the beginning of spring. In different countries, the days of the new moon may not coincide, so lamas calculate the onset of the new year taking into account the terrain.
Interestingly, the celebration from ancient times until 2021 is not associated with midnight, but falls at the time of dawn, from about six to eight in the morning. Buddhists believe that as soon as the lines of life on the hand become visible under the morning rays of the sun, this means that Sagaalgan has come, you can celebrate the arrival of a new time.
Details and traditions
Preparation for the arrival of the “white month” begins the day before and includes::
- restoring order in and around the house;
- passing the GUTOR spiritual purification ceremony;
- holding a one-day fast;
- offering sacrifices to spirits, or the Dugjuub rite – is the burning of a black pyramid, symbolizing the evil accumulated over the past year.
Purity of soul, thoughts and order in the home, business are important for adherents of Buddhism. The deities don’t visit the sleazy people with bad thoughts. It is very important to get rid of the accumulated problems and resentments in the outgoing year. They symbolically destroy evil in various ways:
- after eating, they throw out a red figure made of dough on a vacant lot;
- burn ritual bonfires;
- having fun and dancing.
Buddhist monasteries still worship the goddess Baldan Lhamo, who protected the sun from demons and saved spring. They remember the White Elder, in Mongolian mythology Tsagan Uvgun serves as the guardian of fertility and longevity.
The Sagaalgan holiday in 2021 includes not only sacred rituals, meditations in datsans, but also traditions and customs of the clan. Honoring the elders, meeting friends, and family celebrations unite close people and strengthen the link between generations. The whole month of the holiday allows you to visit the most distant relatives, deliver gifts, and receive guests.
Special treats are prepared for the celebration of Sagaalgan, which are associated with ancient traditions, customs of making preparations for dairy products for future use. Such dishes are not prepared on weekdays, and they are not bought in stores. The white month of the next 2021 year, as in ancient times, is the time of preparation of the main delicacy, Buryat foam. It takes a whole bucket of cow’s milk to get a small piece of the treat. On the festive tables there is a white abundance: cottage cheese dishes, sour cream, butter.
Treats are prepared only from natural products. In Buryat cuisine, a special place is given to cooking meat wrapped in dough. Postures (buuz) mold in the shape of the Yurt with a hole from top to first to drink the rich broth. Fill the dish with pieces of beef, horse meat or lamb.
Sagaalgan is not complete without sweets on the festive table. By the way, Buryat national desserts based on ancient recipes will not leave anyone indifferent.
Sweet beans remind us of the usual ” brushwood»
The modern holiday
As part of the official celebration, folk festivals have become traditional. Many creative groups hold theatrical performances and festivals that bring together representatives of different regions who worship Buddhism. Kind and generous Sagaalgan fills the souls of people with warmth and light, so that the charge of kindness is enough not only for the “white month”, but also for the whole of 2021.