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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Premier of Tuva reminded the people of the republic of the meaning of Shagaa

Premier of Tuva reminded the people of the republic of the meaning of ShagaaThe citizens' safety  was declared to be task number one during the days of  celebrations of eastern New Year - Shagaa. Today the head of the republic held a special meeting on the subject with participation of regional administrations and territorial organs of federal government, as well as municipalities. As announced at the meeting, according to a decision approved at all levels of administration,  there will be "dry law" in effect for the entire period of Shagaa celebrations from  February 3 to 6.

This measure, as Sholban Kara-ool is convinced,  fully corresponds to the meaning and goals of the ancient national holiday, which is affirmed by the constitution of the republic together with state holidays. The traditions of Shagaa, in which the traditions of  way of life of nomadic people and religious rituals of Tuvans are tightly intertwined, do not even obliquely suggest use of any type of alcoholic beverages. On the contrary, the holiday always meant renouncement of  destructive habits, purification from mistakes made during the course of the year, and acceptance of responsibilities for the future of the family, clan and the entire nation.

Unfortunately, the premier noted, few people today know the true meaning of the ancient ritual, and  a holiday that is good in its essence often turns into wild parties with tragic outcomes. At the same time, the educational role of Shagaa is underappreciated  even by other  authorities, especially in village areas, which leave the organization and performance to individuals. Fort hat reason, at the request of the head of the republic, scholars of Tuvan institute of humanitarian research presented explanations about the origins of the ancient custom and its meaning.

In the versions of Tuvan scholars,  Shagaa, or Tsagaan Sar in Mongolia, was first officially introduced during the time of Genghisids, which united all the nomadic peoples. The ancient custom, which existed in various forms  in various nomadic ethnoses, was meant, according to the intention of the authorities, to promote their unification and  peaceful co-existence. It is not by chance that according to historians, during the time of Shagaa celebrations, just like in ancient Greece during Olympic games, all fighting and wars were interrupted. Beside the utilitarian  significance  as a marker for change of  daily cycle of nomadic life, and  of arrival of spring, the tradition was a symbol of renewal of man and nature,, openness and purity of intentions, forgiveness and good deeds.

Shagaa observations started 30 days before the actual day of New Year. During this period, people put their homes, households, and  yards in order. It was also right to put one's soul into order, - to think about and make sense of events of the past year, to feel remorse if one has been in the wrong, to renounce bad intentions, to make peace with one's competitors and to prepare oneself for a new life, not burdened by enmity, full of positive plans. The celebration continued for the same number of days after the start of the new year. And the celebrations consisted not just of feasting, but mainly by deeds. During these days, every person, but especially men who were considered the pillars of the family and the society, had to prove their renewal and beneficence by real actions.

"Since we have preserved the ancient holiday and made it lawful after the ideological prohibitions of the USSR regime, it is not possible to neuter the true meaning of the holiday and turn it into yet another vacation time and idle entertainment, and not always a safe one for people, if it is associated with drinking.

The huge moral potential carried by the holiday should be understood and used, first of all, by representatives of the authorities to bring up a generation healthy in spirit and in body", believes Sholban Kara-ool.

The organization of all the activities should be personally supervised and checked by the heads of municipal organs.   "Shagaa is a holiday for the residents. And we and you, colleagues, including law enforcement, should work so that everything goes as it should, and was not clouded by any emergencies. And that will be a ritual of purification for us," - announced Sholban Kara-ool, addressing the meeting participants.

gov.tuva.ru, translated by Heda Jindrak
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