We are delivering the Tsagaan Sar experiences of expats working and living in Mongolia. Our next guest is Mr Ekrem Kalan, Associate Professor and Resident Coordinator for Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency in Ulaanbaatar (TIKA).
Ta Sar shinedee saikhan shinelev uu?
Bayarlalaa. Saikhan shinellee.
Please share with our readers your experience with celebrating Tsagaan Sar?
This year has been special for me as we had a chance to celebrate Tsagaan Sar together with our staff and we visited their homes met with their parents and grandparents.
You have spent several years on Mongol Studies and you are familiar with Mongolian culture and traditions.
As a researcher I’d say that any culture when organized into settlement starts losing some features of its traditions and customs. But what is different in Mongolia, although urbanization is taking place rapidly Mongolians still manage to keep their traditions and customs within the city boundaries as well. And during Tsagaan Sar and any other holidays Mongolians gather together with families just like we do in Turkey. This is very good. It makes me feel like I am at home. It is always a joyful moment to see grandparents, parents and children to gather together, pay respect towards each other and giving presents. Gathering together strengthens family ties and improves relationship.
-What was the most exciting or difficult thing during the Tsagaan Sar?
-As a foreigner the eating part was somehow difficult for me, as we visit families and everywhere we are offered traditional buuz, uuts (lamb loin) and airag. Although this was my fourth Tsagaan Sar I still couldn’t manage to learn to eat like Mongols.
Another thing I noticed is all the hardwork of the women that do in preparation and during the celebrations of Tsagaan Sar. Mongolian women are very patient and strong in this view, which is rare in Europe. It is amazing how women do not complain about being tired.
What would you advise your friends coming to visit Mongolia during Tsagaan Sar?
To mind if one really wants to explore Mongolia there are two things to observe. One is to definitely experience Naadam. The second one is to spend Tsagaan Sar in Mongolia with Mongolian family, if one wants to really get to know Mongolian culture. Tsagaan Sar is not only a festival, it is a cultural heritage of Mongolians, more than just greeting, meeting and eating together. Tsagaan Sar gives an opportunity to gather all the family members, which is not observed in many other countries.
It is very nice that you have observed the essence of Tsagaan Sar in that particular light and let me wish you all the good and your endeavors to fulfill.
I would like to wish your readers all the best and health and I wish that every next year will always be better.
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