The Mongolian Community and friends in Whatcom County will be celebrating Tsagaan Sar, Mongolian New Year from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 5, at Loomis Hall at 288 Martin Street in Blaine. The event is sponsored by the Sound Essence Project, Blue Sky Education Project for Mongolia, and Bellingham Sister Cities Association.
Tsagaan Sar means White Month, is the biggest holiday in Mongolia. For Mongols, Tsagaan Sar not only marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, it is also an ancient traditional holiday that symbolizes a new beginning and a time to pay respect to their elders and family.
Organizers say they expect more than 100 people to attend the event. This will be their second year celebrating Tsagaan Sar publicly in Whatcom County.
Bolor Smith, co-founder and director of the Blue Sky Education Project, said even though less than 20 Mongolians currently live in Whatcom County, the ties between Mongolia and Whatcom County run deep. Western Washington University library has the biggest Mongolian collection of books and printed materials in North America, beating the Library of Congress. He added WWU has the biggest in-class Mongolian language program in the United States.
"We have a number of local NGOs (Blue Sky Education Project and the Sound Essence Projects) in Bellingham that provide educational and humanitarian projects in Mongolia," Smith said. "The active involvement of organizations based in Bellingham, both in academic and humanitarian fields involving Mongolia have allowed Bellingham to gain significant recognition as a center for Mongolian interests in the United States."
The Bellingham Sister Cities Association board of directors recently voted to add Tsetserleg, Mongolia as the sixth sister city of Bellingham. A group of city representatives will be traveling to Mongolia this summer to sign the friendship contract with Tsetserleg. For more information about Blue Sky Education Project, visit http:/blueskyeducationproject.org.