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GORNO-ALTAISK, February 5 (Itar-Tass) — The capital of the Altai Republic marks this Sunday the New Year according to the oriental lunar calendar.
The celebration of Chaga Bairam or the “White Holiday” will draw thousands of citizens and guests of the capital to the central square of Gorno-Altaisk where the best show biz groups of the region will render a holiday concert, Itar-Tass learnt at the press service of the republican government.
According to a tradition, the holiday will start with the early morning rite of saying good wishes to Altai and its people on Mt. Tugai. Then, a parade of Altai clans and the rite of honouring fire will pass in Gorno-Altaisk. Following the parade and congratulations from officials, the folklore programme “My Cherished Altai” will start in the square.
Children’s musical, vocal and dance groups will be participants in the festivities.
There will be various festive events: contests in national types of sport, fashion shows of Altai costumes, contests of the national cuisine, folk games and other festivities. Representatives of various cultures living in Gorno-Altaisk, will show their creative works in the programme “Friendship of peoples”.
Holiday-makers will be offered dishes of the Altai cuisine, souvenirs and hot tea.
All districts and villages of the republic celebrate the advent of “the white month” according to the Altai ancient calendar and the advent of the Dragon Year. According to a decision of the republican parliament, Chaga Bairam was granted the status of a state holiday of the Altai Republic in 2000, and it is marked officially all over the republic, but without an off-day.
The holiday always starts with the appearance of the new moon and is marked on various days in various years.
Chaga Bairam, forgotten in Soviet years, started reviving in the first half of the 1990s. Considerable part of the 74,000-strong Altai people shows a clear trend towards Buddhism over the past two decades. Therefore, the Altai Republic established its own spiritual board of Buddhists a decade ago.