Tsagaan Sar Eve.
What is that you may ask. I don't really have a good answer.
Tsagaan means white and sar means moon. So, put it together and you get white moon. This is a Mongolian "traditional" holiday of the Lunar New Year. There are two main holidays in Mongolia. One of them is Tsagaan Sar and the other is Naadam Festival. Naadam is in the summer and is an lyompic style celebration of Mongolia's free country status. There are three main sports: archery, horse racing and wrestling.
My observations about Tsagaan Sar are that it is a lot like Christmas in the United States, because:
1. They clean their houses, top to bottom.
2. They buy presents for everyone in their family.
3. They cook everything under the sun.
4. Everyone in their family comes over to visit them and they go visit everyone in their family. I think they must apparate from one place to the next. I don't know how they do it.
5. They eat for 4 days straight.
So, for the next few days we will be visiting most of the Mongolians that we know. We're going to eat a myriad of salads...fruit, potato, pasta, egg, vegetable-ish. We're going to sniff snuff. We're going to pretend to enjoy drinking fermented horse milk. We're going to eat so many byy3 (mysterious meat filled dumplings) we might explode. And...we're going to eat boiled sheep back bone.
Don't you want to come join?
As nervous as I sound, I am actually pretty excited about what this "traditional" holiday will entail. (I say traditional in " "s because Mongolians sure love to tell you when something is traditional or national) I am excited to get to go to some gers and to experience something that is not uniquely Mongolian but will be full of Mongolian flair.
I'll be sure to have a full report on everything that happened, don't you worry.
Until then...caihan shenlerei (that's my monglish (Mongolian-English) version of Happy New Year...or something along those lines!