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Tsagaan Sar Gift Index — 2016

ucsaar08 March 2016

Members of the Emerging Subjects project at UCL and the National University of Mongolia contributed to this post.

 

What does focusing on gifts given and received during Tsagaan Sar tell us about the general economy? Last year we posted our first Tsagaan Sar Gift Index (TSGI) and found that the slowing economy shaped how people celebrated the holiday, with people confining the celebrations to fewer days and opting for more useful gifts (like socks) that support Mongolian businesses.

This year, the economy has been shaken further with pressures of increasing public and private debt and the slowdown of commodity prices globally. We found that people bought less over-all in preparation for Tsagaan Sar. While prices have decreased (especially the price of meat), the cost of this year’s celebration was very straining.  This was especially true for those without a regular income, or dependent on the sale of meat for money.  The cost of preparing and sourcing goods was compounded by an already difficult time economically, and many pensioners used their pensions to take out loans, or purchased items through credit to fund the celebration.[1]

Based on comparison of our different cases, it seems typical for a lower-income household to spend less than 600,000 tögrög; a middle-income household to spend between 600,000-800,000 tögrög; and high-income over one million tögrög. If a household has elders or highly-respected individuals, such as a doctor or singer, they often have to spend well over one million to accommodate the large number of guests. Though households might receive a good amount of money in the form of cash gifts given by guests (around 100,000-400,000), this does not seem likely to off-set the cost of items like vodka, prime cuts of sheep meat, gifts for guests, and holiday outfits that are purchased in advance of the holiday.

Average Tsagaan Sar expenditures based on age group. Courtesy of Mongolian Marketing Consultancy Group.

 

Alongside our reflections we have interspersed the text with statistics from the Mongolian Marketing Consultancy Group’s survey on people’s attitudes toward Tsagaan Sar (with kind permission from Bumerdene Dulam). Although these are based on very general reflections, they complement the individual experiences we recount.  They also reveal rising public interest in the high cost of the holiday.

Preparations

Based on her ongoing work with traders at Narantuul market, Hedwig noted that the market was, as usual, packed in the lead-up to the National holiday, and especially so in the last three days of the previous lunar year. The sellers were happy to be busy, but many remarked that over-all spending was much less than usual, and was characterized by ‘scattered’ and ‘irregular’ purchases (таaруу). In fact, the average trader made 30% less than last year selling goods for the national holiday

Those who sold household goods (ariun tsevriin hereglel) encountered a decrease in comparison to last year in spending of around 10 %, as people bought gifts like shampoo and soap from their shops, as well as products to clean their homes before the celebration started. Clothing shop traders (i.e. non ‘necessary’ goods) reported a loss in profits of between 30-50 % compared to previous years. Instead of purchasing new clothes, many reported using old material to make their New Year outfits, or simply reusing what they had. Others reported re-gifting items they had received, while also being strategic about whom they visited.

One of Rebekah’s friends stressed that:

‘Like all Mongolian holidays, Tsagaan Sar will not be skipped or overlooked. People are spending as much as they can to have a decent Lunar New Year. This year is the year of the Monkey, a year that bears the title of the “mischievous faced-one”. A mid-ranking family can expect to spend from 500,000 – 1,500,000 MNT, with food, drinks, gifts and cash tokens all included.’

According to him, the prices of things were not that high, compared to last year. Instead, he explained:

‘The value of the tögrög dropped to a level where prices do seem high and people’s wallets are thinner this year. One US dollar now is trading at 2005-2010 tögrög in the commercial banks. Experts warn that it could reach 2200 if proper measurements are not taken.’

Many spoke of giving smaller gifts, such as phone credits, 500-1000 tögrög in cash, or small sweets and treats for younger people. Another of Rebekah’s friends reported a disconnect between the generations as to how best to celebrate the occasion, with one person commenting:

‘I see young people wanting to celebrate in a simpler way with less gifts and less extra expenditures; however, elders wish to celebrate it as they used to, so many are in trouble [financially]. 70% of all retired elders are in debt by taking out their monthly pensions in advance.’

Another person described how one of her relative’s took out her monthly pension allowance in advance with her husband. ‘They took out all their monthly pensions until February 2017, and [they] still don’t have enough money to celebrate Tsagaan Sar,’ causing them to ask their family for more money. It is clear that while many are already in debt, they allowed themselves to get further into debt in order to celebrate the occasion in a way they had been used to before.

Loan for TS, 45% of total families take loans

45% of people take out loans for Tsagaan Sar. 73% obtain a loan from the bank, and 24% obtain a loan from individuals. Courtesy of Mongolian Marketing Consultancy Group.

 

One member of our research group was in charge of arranging Tsagaan Sar for her elderly grandmother, given that her mother and other older relatives were abroad during the holiday.  She was given a budget of 1 million tögrög ($490) to procure necessary food items and 100,000 tögrög ($49) broken into crisp, new 5,000 tögrög bills to give upon guests’ departure.

She was able to spend just under 1 million tögrög to purchase foodstuffs like meat, vegetables, pickles, eggs, mayonnaise, traditional dairy products, fruits, candies, ul boov (large foot-shaped cookies for an offering plate), wine, vodka, and juices.  She was able to save some money because she was directed to only serve ‘dal durvun undur’ – the long four ribs of sheep – on the table, instead of purchasing the expensive sheep back and fatty tail.  Many other people we talked with also remarked that they excluded this cut of the sheep, due to its expense.

Types of meat offering

Different types of meat offerings purchased for the holiday. 50% of households interviewed serve the fatty tail of the sheep, the most expensive cut.

 

Gift-giving

In terms of gifts, the researcher in charge of arranging her grandmother’s Tsagaan Sar prepared boxes of Merci-brand chocolates as well as candies, cough drops, and travel-sized lotions that her mother shipped to Mongolia from the United States.  For special guests, like the doctor treating her grandmother, she gave a bottle of high-end Mongolian vodka (Soyombo brand) and large boxed Merci chocolates.  Guests greeted her grandmother with brand new currency notes in the largest denominations.  In total, she received 150,000 tögrög ($73).

Another family associated with our research group, based in the countryside, roughly budgeted the amount of money they anticipated spending on gifts and food in preparation for Tsagaan Sar:

family budget

Anticipated Tsagaan Sar expenses for a household in rural Mongolia. Gifts make up a large part of the budget. Courtesy of G. Munkherdene.

Gift prep

Tsagaan Sar preparations in rural Mongolia. Photo courtesy of G. Munkherdene.

Gift prep

Tsagaan Sar preparations in rural Mongolia. Photo courtesy of G. Munkherdene.

Gift prep

Tsagaan Sar preparations in rural Mongolia. Photo courtesy of G. Munkherdene.

 

A friend of Lauren’s, who participated in last year’s TSGI, shared that he is still most appreciative of the Mongolian-made gifts that he received.  In particular, he really liked receiving a shirt made by the Mongolian company, Oulen (see image below).  He was not particularly pleased, however, about receiving Russian-made gifts. One of the more interesting gifts that he received was a set of bowls made by the Russian-Mongolian ‘Ulaanbaatar Railway’ painted with socialist-era themed images.  He explained that the bowls used to be in many homes in Ulaanbaatar in the 1990s, thus they have a nostalgic appeal.

Like others we have spoken to, this man chose to visit fewer families than in past years, and also chose to only greet elderly people with money gifts.  According to his observations, other people appeared to be doing the same.

 

Gifts

Gifts received by a young man in Ulaanbaatar.  Photo courtesy of D. Javkaa.

Gifts

Made in Mongolia shirt gift. Photo courtesy of D. Javkaa.

Gifts

Soviet-themed bowls. Photo courtesy of D. Javkaa.

 

Hedwig encountered further forms of strategizing to avoid paying for lavish gifts. For example, many younger people avoided visiting extended elder relatives in order to avoid having to give money. And while some found the cost of giving gifts straining, forms of conspicuous consumption were also prevalent. For example, while many said that they prefered gifts made-in-Mongolia, gifts from other countries were given as a form of status. One household that Hedwig visited, for instance, gave honey and tupperware and facemasks from South Korea, and another gifted British-made shampoo and shower gel. While made-in-Mongolia socks were prevalent gifts, many people commented that the gifts should be ‘useful’ (kheregtseetei / tokhiromjtoi), including objects like cup sets and gloves.

One research team member was surprised when she visited a well-to-do household serving non-traditional food offerings, such as egg-fried rice, fried mushrooms, and glass noodles with vegetables.  She found it to be a nice break from the traditional offering of Russian potato salad and dumplings.  When she left that household, she was given a gift bag of French-brand cosmetics, a luxurious gift that she heard other people received from wealthy families (other gifts of this nature include cashmere clothes and bed linens).

Most challenging tasks of TS

Most challenging expenses for Tsagaan Sar.  54% report gifts for guests, followed by the fatty tail of the sheep.  Courtesy of Mongolian Marketing Consultancy Group.

Average cost of Tsagaan Sar preparations

Average cost of Tsagaan Sar expenditures. Courtesy of Mongolian Marketing Consultancy Group.

Another of Lauren’s friends, a man 34 years of age in Ulaanbaatar who has a low salary in state-run office, multiple-side businesses, and a high mortgage that he can barely pay, reflected that he could not afford to visit many families this year and that many people are trying to take out bank loans to finance the situation. More ‘traditional’ forms of celebrating have been promoted, resulting in more conservative festivities, as a direct reflection of the economic downturn.

Indeed, the economic strain of this year’s celebration even prompted one man in Dalanzadgad, Omnogobi to write on their facebook profile: ‘Because of the financial crisis this year, [we will] make mantuun buuz for Tsagaan Sar.’  Unlike regular Tsagaan Sar dumplings, mantuun buuz are made with yeasted dough and usually contain less meat filling, thereby providing a less expensive way to fill-up the stomachs of guests.  While his comment was made in jest as a form of social critique, it suggests public concern about the affordability of the holiday in the current economic climate.

Mantuun buuz

‘Because of the financial crisis this year, [we will] make mantuun buuz for Tsagaan Sar.’

 

Comparisons to Past Years

One member of our research group heard from friends and family that this year’s Tsagaan Sar was particularly tiring for people, not just because of the economic situation. This year Tsagaan Sar fell on a Tuesday, meaning that people ended up taking almost the entire week off from work.  This meant that Tsagaan Sar lasted not just three days, as typical, but six days (Tuesday-Sunday).  For the first time, some families ‘ran out of buuz’ because they had so many visitors, and had to make trips to the shops to restock food items to offer guests, like juice and soda.

Many spoke of the great financial burden of the holiday this year with one friend from Hovd exclaiming, just after Tsagaan Sar:

‘We celebrated the Lunar New Year and worshipped well. No one had adequate cash to buy the things that were needed, so we got items through a bank loan, and through credit from stores.’

Tsagaan Sar seems to be a big financial burden for the elderly. The older you get the more people you receive to your home. The more prestige you are granted, the more of a financial burden you have to shoulder.

The kinds of gifts a family gives are also indicative of its economic standing and networks, and the kinds of gifts you are given indicate your closeness or distance to a particular family member.

The fact that some families can afford to engage in these displays of wealth while others cannot is well-recognized and perhaps epitomized in the phrase: ‘if you are rich in something, offer it to others’ (yougaar bayan tüügeeree dail).  Perhaps this holiday was as much about displaying wealth as it was about distributing wealth and sharing resources across generations and groups of friends.

 

 

[1] For other statistics and excellent diagrams, see the Mongolian Marketing & Consulting group and their facebook site.

 

The Tsagaan Sar Gift Index – 2015

ucsaar011 March 2015

By Rebecca Empson and Uranchimeg Ujeed, with contributions by members of the Emerging Subjects project

In line with our aim of observing the economy from ‘unusual angles’, over the next 3 years we will look at the kinds of gifts people are giving and receiving during Tsagaan Sar  – the annual Lunar New Year celebrations in Mongolia.

The economy in Mongolia is currently experiencing high inflation and currency depreciation. By tracing the kinds of gifts given and received over this period we hope to gain some insight into the way in which household economies and important moments of displaying wealth and hospitality, such as enacting hierarchy and status, are shaped by the wider economic climate, and vice versa. We will call this the Tsagaan Sar Gift Index.

This is the first of such posts. It has been co-written by different members of our group, including Lauren Bonilla, Joseph Bristley, Rebecca Empson, Elizabeth Fox, Rebekah Plueckhahn, Uranchimeg Ujeed and Hedwig Waters, with perspectives from Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. The format may change somewhat each year according to our focus.

Ritual Practices

Tsagaan Sar (lit. ‘white month’ or ‘moon’, or Shineleh lit. ‘to renew’) is an important occasion both spiritually and socially. Certain traditions are observed to set the household on the ‘right path’ for the year ahead. These practices form an essential background to the widespread act of gift giving and receiving, and so we begin by recounting them in some detail.

Tsagaan Sar tends to fall in February, depending on the Mongolian lunar calendar. While diversities exist in the way people celebrate, some broad commonalities may be highlighted.

Officially, celebration starts on the 23rd day of the last Lunar month when the annual family fire offering is conducted. On this day, families thoroughly sweep and dust their households from top to bottom. They burn incense to purify the house and a fire offering is carried out (in Inner Mongolia offerings are also made to ancestors at this time).

The next major celebration is on New Year’s Eve, or Bitüün (lit. closed) and a celebration called Bitüüleh (to close, or to contain the old year) is performed. At dusk, another offering is made to the family’s ancestors and people tend to eat ‘closed foods’, such as buuz (round dumplings) or biyansh (triangular dumplings). Every household prepares their New Year tabag (a big wooden plate piled with layers of fried cakes and dairy foods to display on the table when greeting guests on New Year’s day).

Empty ger

Inside a ger after the family has left to visit relatives on the second day of Tsagaan Sar (Photo by Lauren Bonilla, 2012)

On the morning of New Year’s Day (shiniin negen, lit. first of the new) people put on their new clothes and the head of the family leads members outside where they light a fire and make prostrations to the old year and greet the New Year (in some cases, this offering is made on a surrounding spiritually-significant mountain by the males of the family). Inside, they may prostrate to the family alter, and then greet (zolgoh) the elders of the family by presenting a ceremonial silk scarf and a cup of alcohol. Elder family members tend to recite auspicious words while children are prostrating.

Children may place their palms facing downwards to those of their elders, which are facing upwards, and say sain shinelbüü (have you had a good renewal)? Elders often give money to the children while saying zoosond adli böh yav, zoosond adli önggötöi yav (lit. be as tough as money and as appreciated as money). Then, in some parts, family members may light some incense and walk a hundred steps in an auspicious direction related to their age as a way to ‘open the road’ (mor gargah) for the New Year.

During the day people visit relatives, starting with a visit to the most senior relative, and onwards to the most junior. Nobody should be greeted empty handed, and often a bottle of alcohol, a piece of brick tea, or a packet of cakes with a hadag is given to the host. In return, people often give a scarf, a towel, or a pair of socks.[1] People try to see (zolgoh) all of their relatives over the next couple of days.

In general, Tsagaan Sar celebrations are concerned with getting rid of anything ‘bad, ‘old’, ‘dirty’, or ‘troublesome’ (muu, huuchin, buzar burtag, gai barchid) that may hinder the New Year and many of the rituals are concerned with setting the path for a ‘fresh’, ‘clean’, and ‘auspicious’ (shine sorgog, ariun tsever, ölzii mörtöi) New Year. There is a saying that mongol hün belgeer, hitad hün beneer (Mongols [do things] by symbol/auspice, Chinese [do things] by value/capital). Nowadays, as we will see, the value of beleg or ‘gift’ and capital is changing.

Social Hierarchy and Obligation

While attending to these kind of customary practices, Tsagaan Sar is also a performative occasion in which people’s hierarchical relations and economic status is enacted, exposed, honored and re-made, through the giving of gifts and sharing of food. Indeed, it is sometimes common for people to ask one another, especially young children, during the celebrations, ‘ail ih hesej, alt möngö ih tsugluulsan uu?’ (did you visit many other families and collect a lot of gold and silver?). This may indicate the emphasis of visiting families to collect gifts, and the way the value of these gifts are received and given different weight.

As Mauss noted, gift giving is not simply altruistic. Giving a gift creates relations of obligation because every gift contains the expectation of some kind of counter-gift. The gift obliges a person to reciprocate what has been received and enter into real contracts. Sometimes the chain of gift and counter-gift creates networks that span several generations. Gift exchange, during Tsagaan Sar, whether people like it or not, makes peoples social relations visible in the exchange of things and reaffirms social bonds and hierarchical status.

The way gift giving reinforces hierarchical relations in Mongolia is something that has been noted by Aude Michelet (2013) in her work on the way children learn hierarchy in the Gobi.[2] Michelet notes that children first have to learn to receive things from adults (rather than simply helping themselves). ‘Learning to receive and to give’, Michelet notes, ‘is one of the basic [skills] used in interacting with others’ (Michelet 2013: 147).

In this sense, giving represents an act of obligation (not always simply one of generosity) that is highly formalized (Michelet 2013:150) and establishes hierarchy between the giver and the receiver. For children it is about learning that you will also, in turn, receive your share according to hierarchy, gender and status.

New Year Celebration 2012

Visiting, feasting and gifting. The young child in the center holds money he collected from visiting the homes of relatives and honoring elders. (Photo by Lauren Bonilla, 2012)

 

Examples from 2014 and 2015

We turn now to accounts of recent gift giving during Tsagaan Sar celebrations in Mongolia, from the countryside and the city. To contextualize some of these accounts and note the changes, let us first look at an example from last year.

In Bulgan Province, in 2014, for example, Joseph Bristley comments that the kinds of gifts given to people ranged from baroque-style vases, small Erdenet carpets and elaborate boxes of chocolates, to smaller items of clothes (socks, gloves), and packs of playing cards. Money was often also given, ranging from 10,000 tögrög (T)  for close kin, to 1,000T for other visitors.[3] Visitors only gave money to their hosts, and often as much as they would receive as a gift on leaving.

In contrast, this year (2015), Liz Fox notes that the kinds of items exchanged among one extended family in the ger district of Ulaanbaatar (UB) and Töv Aimag included relatively small gifts and less money, such as woolen socks, scarves, a t-shirt, and chocolates and sweets, and money that ranged from 1000 to 5000T, as well as special Tsagaan Sar-themed Mobicom or Skytel credit top-up cards (value 1000T).

In comparison, a lawyer in UB, from an upper-middle class family, mentioned to Hedwig Waters that her extended family was focused on gifting items ‘Made in Mongolia’. Gifting Mongolian-made goods was seen as a way of supporting the national economy (despite many knowing they actually came from Ereen, China). In addition to supporting the local economy, this woman’s family also debated if they should switch from gifting gifts to gifting money.

It seems that some city residents always question if the celebration has become too consumer-oriented. By gifting tiny sums of money, people could, it was speculated, enjoy the giving without the focus on (and stress of) object consumption. Indeed, this woman’s family gave each other socks, mostly because they had lost interest in gifting expensive items.[4] But those around her seemed to be debating the need to support the Mongolian economy, while spending and consuming less in general.

Extending this focus on celebrations in the city, Javkaa, a 33-year-old male, in UB, commented to Lauren Bonilla that celebrating Tsagaan Sar in the city poses certain difficulties. For a start, it often starts with intense traffic, making visiting relatives very arduous. Furthermore, ‘if we make buuz and try to freeze them [outdoors] in order to have enough for visitors, we will eat buuz with air pollution.’

Javkaa laments that celebrating in the city:

‘…causes depression for most people instead of excitement. Despite their low salaries, young people want to make their parents happy and they have to buy a lot for the celebration.  Minimally, we have to buy meat which is expensive because we do not have livestock in the city.  Furthermore, we have to find gifts. These are mostly cheap Chinese trash because we do not produce many products. In doing so, the Chinese get rich but we just accumulate debt. Many people in the city borrow money for this celebration. Unfortunately, these products from China are not high quality and most people do not use them after the celebration’.

This year Javkaa visited 3 families and received many Mongolian-branded gifts that filled him with a sense of joy.

‘I got Mongolian camel wool socks from one family’, he commented, ‘another gave me Mongolian socks and Golden Gobi chocolate. While a third family gave me socks and a can of gellete shaving cream from Russia.

Gifts Received by Man in Ulaanbaatar

Gifts received by a young man in Ulaanbaatar.  The socks on the left were specially made for Tsagaan Sar, with the words, ‘Happy Beginning of the New Year’ written on the top. (Photo by Javkaa, 2015)

Javkaa also commented that many purchased items for Tsagaan Sar from Russia this year because Mongolians can now visit Russia for 30 days visa-free, increasing trade and business.

Rebekah Plueckhahn’s friend, a young man in his late 20s, viewed this year’s Tsagaan Sar in Ulaanbaatar as a mixed experience. He described how some families seemed to celebrate as usual, while others celebrated in a more ‘compact and efficient way’, including choosing to celebrate for a less number of days, allowing a family to gain the spiritual and esoteric benefits of hosting Tsagaan Sar, but in a more affordable way.

Given recent inflation, the cost of hosting Tsagaan Sar was a bit higher than usual. As a youngest son, Rebekah’s friend didn’t need to host anyone at his house, but on average, in order to host a 2-3 day celebration he estimated that people have to save at least 1,000,000 to 1,500,000T in advance. Many families, he noted, gave gifts of cheap socks and gloves, something that was seen as a bit funny, but also a bit sad.

His family chose to give chocolates and candies with a 1,000T note (approximately 50 US cents). This 1,000T note was chosen because of its blue colour, reminiscent of the overarching sky (Tenger), and a Mongolian ceremonial blue scarf (hadag).

1,000 tögrög note

This, and other accounts of Tsagaan Sar in 2015, paint a picture where people are either maintaining a kind of gift exchange ‘equilibrium’, by keeping their celebration modestly consistent with previous years, or by deciding to downsize this year’s celebration in response to an over-all climate of far-less economic opportunity.

Less days, more socks, made in Mongolia

By making the celebration more ‘compact’, by hosting and visiting less people for a shorter number of days, people are still able to carry out gift exchange in the right way but for a lower over-all cost.

This leaning towards austerity by some, is reflected further by Rebekah’s friend, who laments the fact that, recently, many families have had to: ‘look for other job opportunities in a smaller market with less employers.’ People are feeling this sudden lack of opportunity, especially if they have made adjustments in previous years when anticipating a certain form of personal, financial growth.

Despite this scaling back, Tsagaan Sar continues to form a pivotal, cyclical point in the spiritual, temporal and familial landscape in Mongolia. Indeed, Rebekah’s friend exclaimed that while ‘it was hard…many Mongolians pulled through it with tradition that must be held strong.’

From this brief overview we may surmise that the celebrations of 2015 were not so much centered around forms of conspicuous consumption and display, but tended to focus more on giving gifts that were affordable and if possible, supported the national economy. ‘Made in Mongolia’ gifts were prevalent.

Some seemed to confine the celebrations to less days, thereby visiting and receiving less people (and reducing the number of relations honored and also the number of gifts given and received). Others, while observing important traditions, scaled down the event to make it more affordable, and a feature mentioned by many was the prevalence of gifting money or socks, which was seen as thrifty and nationally-minded, as well as slightly pitiful of the current economic climate.

As Brad Evans and Julian Reid remind us in their book, Resilient Life, these are not particular responses.[5] Contemporary liberalism, they suggest, requires us to live with precariousness and insecurity. People in Mongolia and elsewhere are continually tasked to be resilient by adapting to and bouncing back from the experiences of economic growth and its sudden decline. When the Tsagaan Sar gift economy appears to move toward scaling-down, localism, and debt accumulation, we might be able to trace another space in which resilience is becoming naturalized and normalized.

 

[1] In the past, a New Year gift was called tsagaan sariin tsaason beleg (lit. paper gift of the tsagaan sar, just symbolic, nothing major). If an elderly person’s animal year falls, called jil oroh (enter the year) and greatly honored. Children and close relatives as well as close friend would normally give a piece silk or cloth for garment and boots etc. Especially boots are considered auspicious as they are opening upwards, hats are avoided as they are opening down. The fifteenth of Tsagaan Sar is the day people would visit monasteries as there were molomiin hural (wish making service) and tsam dances conducted there. Generally Tsagaan Sar celebrations end at this time but if someone has not been able to greet any relatives, he/she still can do it until the end of the month. People would greet by saying sain shinelbüü?

[2] Michelet, Aude P. 2013 Chapter 6: Learning to Share without Being Generous, No Longer ‘Kings’ Learning to be a Mongolian Person in the Middle Gobi, September 2013, unpublished PhD thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

[3] At the time of this post, 1000T roughly equals USD $0.50.

[4] Giving socks may also be a way of maintaining the auspicious tradition of giving gifts that open upwards, in a similar way that boots were popular gifts in the past.  Only gifts that open upwards instead downwards (like hats) are given during Tsagaan Sar because they symbolize collecting and keeping good fortune for the new year.

[5] Evans, Brad and Reid, Julian 2014 Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously, Cambridge: Polity Press