Across Russia, New Year’s is celebrated enthusiastically, but in one region there is a second New Year celebration, one that lasts an entire month. It is the festival of Sagaalgan, celebrated by the Buryats of Eastern Siberia.
Sayana Shukhertuyeva is a prominent local artist from the village of Tsutkuley, a remote steppe community. “Regardless of where people from my village live now,” Shukhertuyeva said, “Ulan Ude, Moscow — they all come back for Sagaalgan and put on excellent concerts right there in Tsutkuley.”
Tucked in a corner of southeastern Siberia, the Aginsk Buryat District is located near the borders of China and Mongolia. More than half of its approximately 75,000 residents are Buryats. Numbering 400,000 throughout Russia, the Buryats are Mongol descendents of Genghis Khan who live in the areas between Lake Baikal and Russia’s southern borders.
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