Sagaalgan - White Month (7 days, 6 nights)
Ulan-Ude — Ivolginsky Datsan — Ust-Barguzin — Zabaikalsky national park — Chivirkuisky bay — Ulan-Ude
In Europe people celebrate the New Year once a year. In Russia — twice
a year. Only in Buryatia we celebrate the New year 3 times a year!
To start a new life, to get rid from the bad — one more chance to begin
over given by an old buryat tradition of celebrating the New Year
In Europe people celebrate the New Year once a year. In Russia — twice
a year. Only in Buryatia we celebrate the New year 3 times a year! To start a new life, to get rid from the bad — one more chance to begin
over given by an old buryat tradition of celebrating the New Year.
«Sagaalgan» (from buryat «the White month») — is a festival, which
symbolizes the beginning of a New Year and the coming of spring. The coming of the Sagaalgan is estimated according to the lunar calendar
and it is usually celebrated in February. The Buryat New Year is very
good because of its continuance — can you imagine, all the month
through people can visit each other and eat the white dairy food. It will be an opportunity not to be missed for you to take part in this
beautiful and picturesque celebration from the very beginning till the very end of it!
The Buryats have a wonderful and beautiful tradition of celebrating the «White month» which shows the spiritual culture of the nation, its poetical perception of the World. The Sagaalgan symbolizes
purification, the beginning of a new life and drawing into the world of sublimity.
People get ready long before the festival. The holiday service is held
in the monasteries for several days and the monks pray for the happy
course of the New Year to come. People clean their houses and make the New Year's fare.
You'll get rid of the diseases and bad thoughts during the magical
ritual of before the holiday evening bonfire «Doogzhooba» at the gates
of the main Buddhist Temple «Dashi Choikhorlin»!
As soon as the dawn comes, we will celebrate the beginning of the New Year. In the past people started offering their congratulations to others from the ceremonial round. In the very beginning they would
certainly visit the «Ger» (yurta) of the eldest and the most respected
person in the neighborhood. The guests would present a «khadak» (a blue
silk scarf), milk, tea, shawls, sweets, plates and dishes with food to the hosts. In response to the guests presents the hosts presented them
with sweets, frozen meat, tea, butter and silver coins. The smallest
children could receive a newborn lamb or a calf as a present which
symbolized well-being and the increase of the livestock.
You will see only «white food» (dairy products) on the tables in Buryat
families: dried cream, homemade cheese «khurood», dried curds, dried
sour clotted milk, salamat, buns and cookies made on milk, boozy (dumplings made on steam) and milk vodka «tarasoon». Milk is a sacred
drink of the Buryats, it is the symbol of fertility, the heaven's help
and wish for the best. Just like the Orthodox fasting such a diet fast
can purify and make healthier a person, centuries-old rites and rituals
can strengthen a person's spirit!
You'll have a great opportunity to visit the land of spirits, shamans
and buddhist lamas (monks) during this important and solemn festival of the Buryats. This will certainly be a never-to-be-forgotten experience
in your travelling in Siberia!
We are absolutely sure, that you will be struck by the wonderful
combinations of cultures and nations that you will witness with your
If you spend the Sagaalgan happily and peacefully it means for you that the coming year will be very successful!.
Sagaalganaar! — Happy New Year!
Sagaalgan — The white month — The month of kindness.
In pleasurable anticipation of events
Transfer airport/RW — hotel/homestay, check in
to Ivolginsky Datsan (35 km away from Ulan-Ude). There you will be accompanied by a khuvarak (student)* Bonfire «Dugjooba»** on the territory of the Ivolginsky Monastery
at the restaurant «Ger» (national buryat cuisine : salamat, boozy,
bukhulyor, noodle-soup, green tea with milk, shange (buryat (diary) products
* Ivolginsky Datsan — the center of Buddhism in Russia. Nowadays it is also an institute «Dashi Choikhorlin» (from
Tibetan: «The land of Happy Teaching»). It's a special school where the buddhist monks, buddhist scholars, specialist in Old Mongolian
languages are taught. (!) The unique body of khambo-lama Dashi-Dorjo
Itigilov is kept inside the monastery. 75 years ago he started
meditation and attained the special state of it called «Samadkhi» -
thus, he purified the body and the mind and prevented it from
putrefaction. The body of the great Lama was found again and he still
seats at the same posture of Lotus as he had set before the death.
** If you want to take part in an old ritual of purification you are to have a small piece of an old clothes which
should be thrown into the bonfire in order to get rid of the illnesses
and bad thoughts.
Breakfast in hotel/homestay
Excursion the Oriental Medicine Center*
Lunch at restaurant of Siberian cuisine «Samovar»
Tour to Ethnographical museum of the nations of TransSiberia region**
Tour to Old Believers village. Concert ancient russian songs, ritual games, dances.
Supper with the family of Old Believers.***
* Doctors of Tibetan medicine can give you the exact diagnosis after they felt your pulse. A great opportunity to see with your own eyes procedures of non-conventional treatment:
acupuncture, phytotherapy, herudotherapy (gerodotherapy). The theoretical basis of the medical treatment is the Atlas of Tibetan
medicine (exhibited in the center). There is also a phytopharmacy where
one can buy medical herbs.
** Open air museum. Includes Evenks, Buryats,
Cossacks, Old Believers complexes. Authentic houses, gers, domestic
utensils, old furniture, national costumes.
*** Old Believers of Buryatia is colorful branch
of Orthodox Russians exiled in Siberia in VIII century after the church
reform carried out by Patriarch Nikon. They managed to save their
culture, singing art, religion as they were two centuries ago. Lunch at a family, ritual fanny games, Old Believers polyphonic songs and a lot of fun!
New Year breakfast at a Buryat family*
Transfer Ulan-Ude — Ust-Barguzin (5 hours)
Lunch at the guest house «Turka» (half the way to Ust-Barguzin)**
Arrival at Ust-Barguzin. Accommodation in the log-houses with good conveniences. Banya (Russian sauna), supper***
* It is a great chance to try the best «white»
dishes of the traditional buryat cuisine and to take part in the ritual
** Turka means «omul road». Baikal omul is a endemic fish that lives nowhere but only in Baikal. On Baikal land one can taste omul cooked on different ways: salt omul, «cold» and «hot»
fumed, frozen ant cut in thin pieces, prepared on sticks on bonfire.
*** Ust-Barguzin is the last big village on the way to the Transbaikalian National Park. It is situated in the mouth of the Barguzin river. You can apprise the heat of the Siberian banya,
dishes of the Russian Siberian cuisine and famous Siberian hospitality.
Great tour around the Barguzinskaya valley * (by minivan)
Lunch at a Buryat Ger, concert of buryat national music. Return to Ust-Barguzin: banya, supper.
* The Barguzinskaya valley — is a rich repository
of archeological and natural monuments: petrography (3 000 years old);
Suvinskaya Saxony (breathtaking rocks, remind you of the watch-towers
of a castle); Buryat Obo (sacred place) — called «Bull stone»; Inisky
stone garden (10 km2, in the Japanese culture «Khiraniva» -
Bay exploring on fishermen's sledge on the lake
Baikal ice from Ust-Barguzin to Chivirkuysky bay across the isthmus
called «Myahkaya Karga»*.
Kurbulik (village)*. Three kinds of winter fishing. Overnight at fishermen
*Kurbulik is a small fishermen's village on the coast of the Chivirkuysky bay. A great opportunity to try three kinds
of Baikal winter ice fishing! (with an net; with a sweep net; with a small rod). Fish soup and fishes on sticks fried on bonfire.
Sledding to Zmeinaya bay (Snake bay)*
Hot springs, islands, caves Transfer to Ust-Barguzin (by minivan)
Accommodation in homestay. Supper. Banya.
* Hot springs can be found in several places on the shore and under the water surface. In the wintertime there's no snow around the spring, it melts away on the warm ground (the
temperature in one spring is +60C and in another +40C). The water
Transfer Ust-Barguzin — Ulan-Ude. Lunch at guest-house «Turka»*
Final festival supper at «Ger» restaurant
Departure from Ulan-Ude
*Guest house on the coastline. Warm and hearty welcome and delicious Russian cuisine.
Profsoysnaya Street, 31
8 (3012) 216-177
Rossiyskaya Street, 6. Office 2
8 (3952) 342-043