by Mark & Kara
Attire in Mongolia is still very traditional, never more-so than during the major holidays. Tsagaan Sar is no exception. Most Mongolians, or at least the older ones, wear traditional Mongolian dels for Tsagaan Sar. Many people have new dels made for the occasion. For many people living in our town center I think it is one of the few times during the year they wear a del, while other people who wear dels on a daily basis may adorn one of their nicer, fancier ones for this occasion.
Dels come in all sorts of colors, with many different patterns. And everyone wanted to know if we had our own to wear over the holiday. We did not, so we did what many younger Mongolians do - we just dressed very nicely. However, at the end of the first day of Tsagaan Sar Kara's co-worker generously gave us both new traditional Mongolian shirts. Kara's was even hand-made and specially tailored for her. (We'll talk a bit more about "gifts" in the next blog post...but since this was a gift that related to attire, we mention it here.)
We did fit in a bit better wearing some of the traditional clothing, but we couldn't come close to competing with Ganbat (in the picture above)...check out that hat! And speaking of hats, it's custom that men wear a hat of some sort when visiting another house. Even if you simply wear it while you enter and then take it off once you are inside. This seems rather practical as you walk from one house to another in -10 Celsius weather...