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GORNO-ALTAISK, February 11 (Itar-Tass) - People in theTuva Republic on Monday celerate Shagaa -- New Year, Buddhist calendar. The Supreme Khural (parliament) of the Republic declared February 11 - the first day of Shagaa - a festive day-off.
Sixty-two percent out of 310,000-strong population of the Republic regard themselves as Buddhists, a Tuva parliament official has told Itar-Tass. The first day of the Buddhist New Year is sealed in the Tuva Constitution as a Shagaa Feast.
However, a date of the Feast is calculated every year anew by means of astrological tables. It may so happen that, due to the differences in calculations in various countries, the resultant dates will not coincide.
Nowadays, Feb 11 for Russia's Buddhists is the day when the Year of the Black Snake comes in at dawn. The festival culminates in the traditional San Salyr rite atop Mount Dogee in Kyzyl. The rite includes the lighting of fire in honour of the New Year. All the ill thoughts and misfortunes are believed to burn up in the flame. With this end in view, a group of Buddhist men will make a night-time ascent of Dogee to an altitude of almost one kilometre.