Christmas in Mongolia. For the 3.5 percent of Mongolia’s population that is Christian (in the 2010 Census, 64.4 % of Mongolia’s population highlighted they were of some religious faith), Christmas takes place in one of the churches in Ulaanbaatar such as at the Roman Catholic Church.
However, for those that are not Christian, Christmas is a wonderful amalgamation. Companies countrywide are currently hosting their New Year parties … including us in Ulaanbaatar …
If you’re in Mongolia now, you’ll see the New Year tree (yes, we would know it as a Christmas tree), decorating Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar. There’s trees decorating restaurants and homes and businesses country-wide – in all manner of colours from purple to silver, red and even pink. Our office in Ulaanbaatar even has one …
The 25th is not a holiday … children go to school and it’s a normal working day. However, December 31st is a holiday and there will be fireworks, parties and a rousing speech from the President – televised at midnight. There’s a tradition whereby adults hang Mongolian currency on the tree for the visiting children – the New Year tree is a symbol of prosperity and wealth for families that proudly display it.
Wishes and greetings are sent from the 25th onwards including this one I have just received from Ulzii at the Nogoon Nuur Community Project – located within the heart of the ger districts in Ulaanbataar at Denjin Hill. (I have written about Nogoon Nuur in previous posts so to keep it short – there are few safe community spaces within the ger districts – especially community spaces where children can play. But, Nogoon Nuur (Green Lake) is bucking this trend. Nogoon Nuur was a quarry. Then a waste dump site. It is now a thriving community space made possible by a committed individual – Mongolian philanthropist Ulzii.
And I was so touched by the message, I thought I would make it part of my Christmas greeting. In Ulzii’s own English:
‘We wish you the best Christmas for you and your family. We are thankful for your help to bring your tourists to our Green Lake. We would like to say it has been grateful to bring us the happiness. I, Ulziitogtokh have the brightest future plan and let the people who lives in the Ger district basically let them to learn and how to experienced to spend their free enjoyable time with their family and friends. We appreciated for you helps and will always appreciate for attention to understanding what we need and will need. We wish you the best Christmas and Happy New Year to 2018. We are hoping to continue the courage together for the future. Thanks again for all what you’ve done to us.’
So with those words, Merry Christmas! Jess @ Eternal Landscapes