Tuesday, October 6, the 17th day of the Lunar Month, was one of the most auspicious days of the year in Mongolia. I wish I could say why. Unfortunately the half dozen or more explanations I heard all went in one ear and out the other. Perhaps some local pandit can enlighten us on this matter. (Batbold, are you there?) Anyhow, all kinds of festivities were planned city-wide. My friend Ms. S and I decided to commemorate this day by making an ovoo offering at the ovoo just below Öndör Gegeenii Uul, the mountain directly in front of my hovel in Zaisan Tolgoi. Walking up the valley to the mountain we passed several gers where women in dress deels were arranging big spreads of food on outdoor tables. By the bank of the small stream running down the valley a group of six men were sharing what looked to be not their first bottle of vodka for the day, although it was only 8:00 in the morning. We turned and climbed up toward Öndör Gegeenii Uul, the mountain to which I normally retire to View the Heavens.
Today however we were headed for the ovoo about half way up Öndör Gegeenii Uul and not to the summit of the mountain itself.
Ovoo on the way to Öndör Gegeenii Uul. On the far right can be seen the Khiimoryn Ovoo, where by tradition male Ulaan Baatarites go to celebrate the Tsagaan Sar, the New Year’s celebration.