Chaga Bairam is an Altaiс national holiday that corresponds to other relative holidays celebrated by other Turkic people such as Tsagaan Sar in Mongolia.
Chaga Bairam is a New Year according to the oriental lunar calendar for Altaians and it is celebrated in the end February or in the beginning of March.
Spiritual significance of the holiday is in purificatory acts from all negative emotions. With the light heart people meet a new year and wish happiness, prosperity and goodness to all relatives and friends. Altai people also worship their motherland – all the river and mountains and thank god for grace and patronage.
According to the tradition, the holiday starts 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 passes in Gorno-Altaisk. Following the parade and congratulations from officials, the folklore programme “My Cherished Altai” starts in the square.
All districts and villages of the republic celebrate the advent of “the white month” according to the Altaic ancient calendar. 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.