Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)'s image
Created: 2014-09-11 16:12
Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
Description: The celebration of Tsagan Sar, or White Month, takes place two months after Zul on the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar. It is a celebration of the coming of spring when nature wakes up from its winter sleep. Because white symbolizes purity and the beginning of life, the celebration is called White Month.

The preparation for the celebration begins with cleaning the house. All valuables kept in chests and drawers are taken out, cleaned and aired. People prepare their best clothes for the celebration. Both the house and the cattle yard are purified with incense.

On the eve of Tsagan Sar all families cook traditional biscuits called bortsg, of various shapes, each of which has its own name and symbolic meaning. For example, tselvg or khavtkha symbolizes the Sun; togsh – a fence for enclosing sheep; jola – long life; khutsyn tolga – animal offspring; khorkha – fertility, etc. After the baking is done, Kalmyks light candles and place some biscuits on the family altar. The oldest members of the family perform a ritual called tsagana bortsg yoryallgn in which they utter well-wishes for the bortsg biscuits. Afterwards the biscuits are tied together with a thread pushed through them to form gift bundles. Each gift bundle must have a specific number of each kind of bortsg, that is one khavtha, six togsh, one khutsyn tolga, one jola, one moshkmr, three shor and one kit.

On the first day of Tsagan Sar, early in the morning the head of the family offers tea to the goddess of the hearth, Okn Tengr. He then pulls the door of the house wide open, steps out with his right leg, while his left leg is still inside the house, and sprinkles the tea upwards as an offering. During the holiday houses should have their doors open and have a table laid with food for guests. A traditional greeting on this day is 'Did you spend the winter well?' (Uvles mend garvt?). Hand shaking or tsagallgn is done as follows. The two touch each other's elbows with the palm of their hands, which are covered by the edge of their sleeves. The one who first offers a greeting has to touch the left collarbone of the other person with his/her right collarbone.

During Tsagan Sar children visit their maternal relatives, taking with them presents. In return, they receive a present in the form of a sheep's leg. This ritual is called ze berkh.

Tsagan Sar lasts for a month and the ritualized hand shaking of tsagallgn may be performed until the beginning of Ur(s) Sar. In the first fifteen days of Tsagan Sar, monasteries perform special rituals to commemorate the victory of the Buddha over falsehood. According to yet another legend, Tsagan Sar is also celebrated to commemorate the victory of the goddess Okn Tengr over a demon that wished to destroy the entire humanity.
 

Media items

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Media items

A Discussion: Tsagan Sar in the Context of Kalmyk Culture

   20 views

This discussion was organized by two organizations, namely In’glyan (the Association of Women of Kalmykia) and Bilgin Dala.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Wed 15 Feb 2017


Alena Lidzhieva, About Tsagan Sar and Zul

   31 views

Women wake up first and make traditional biscuits (bortsg) and make milk tea. Before dawn they light candles and then wake up elders who utter well-wishes to the food and...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Fri 12 Jun 2015


Alexandra Nastaeva, Antonina Boskhandjieva, About Tsagan Sar

   32 views

Two women, Alexandra and Antonina, talk about how Kalmyks, including their families, celebrate Tsagan Sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Thu 23 Apr 2015


Alexandra Sanzheeva, About Tsagan Sar

   2 views

Alexandra talks about Tsagan Sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sun 11 Nov 2018


Baatr Mandzhiev, About Tsagan Sar

   14 views

Baatr talks about how people celebrate Tsagan sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sat 23 May 2015


Bosya Ochirova, Tsagan Sar

   11 views

Bosya recounts a legend about the origin of Tsagan Sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sat 23 May 2015


Dmitriy Mandzhiev, About Tsagan Sar

   2 views

Dmitriy talks about how people traditionally celebrate Tsagan Sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sun 28 Oct 2018


Elza Badaeva, About Tsagan Sar

   2 views

Elza reminisces about how her family celebrated Tsagan Sar when she was small.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Thu 20 Dec 2018


Galina Goryaeva, Tsagan Sar

   10 views

Galina talks about bortsg and traditions that people follow during Tsagan Sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sat 16 May 2015


Galina Suikieva, About Tsagan Sar

   8 views

Galina talks about the symbolism of some biscuit varieties that people make at Tsagan Sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Mon 28 Mar 2016


Garya Naminov, Tsagan Sar

   11 views

Garya recounts how people celebrated Tsagan Sar in his village.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Tue 16 Jun 2015


Ivan Modunkaev, Tsagan Sar

   9 views

Ivan talks about what should be done during Tsagan Sar.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sun 14 Jun 2015


Larisa Shoglyaeva, About Tsagan Sar

   9 views

Larisa talks about Tsagan Sar, bortsg varieties, and offerings.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Fri 3 Feb 2017


Leonid Khochiev, Tsagan Sar

   15 views

Leonid talks about how Tsagan Sar was celebrated in his village in the past.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Fri 27 Jul 2018


Maria Kamandzhaeva, About Tsagan Sar

   44 views

Maria talks about and shows how to celebrate Tsagan Sar:

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (TSAGAN SAR)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Tue 30 Aug 2016


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