The burning juniper or Sang puja refers to a ritual of purification. The burning incense or a smoke offering has been a common practice in Mongolia since ancient time, and it is also associated with a ritual for the veneration of Chinggis Khaan. Foreign travelers who met Mongols during era of Chinggis Khaan and during the time of Bat Khaan of the Golden Horde, wrote that Mongols had a custom of using fire or smoke as an agent of purification. Foreign people were forced to pass between two fires in order to enter the Khan’s palace. It was done to remove poisons, evil spirits and enchantment. Thus, it is believed that it can be used to repeal negative energy and to remove impurities from the mind. Since ancient time, it has been a common practice in Mongolia for cow dung to be used as a source of fuel, and burned it to purity the atmosphere. There are many rituals and traditions related to juniper burning which are kept as regular customs. From reading old books written in Mongolia, we can see that juniper burning was commonly practiced in Mongolia before the spread of Buddhism. Some people mistakenly think that the burning of juniper is a religious practice adopted from India or Tibet. In ancient time, Mongols used to burn dung and juniper would observe the smoke emitted for divination when they were starting a war or moving to a new place. Juniper is used in sacred rituals in many cultures like Agar wood and tropical mood are used for incense. Pleasant aromas can help us to relax and change the energy in the atmosphere, so mankind has learned about the fragrant smoke released by burning various plants and its benefits for various purpose. Some example of Mongolian incense includes cow dung, horse manure and various plants like juniper and thyme which have beneficial aromatic qualities.
There are around 75 species of juniper in the world
There are around 75 species of juniper in the world, four species were found in Mongolia. Juniper is a fragrant evergreen that grows in the mountain, and has pleasant smell which comes from the oil released by the plant. This oil kills bacteria in the atmosphere and used as an air fresher. There is no Mongolian who does no remember summer with the fragrant scent of thyme or wormwood; does not feel relaxation when they smell burning juniper at home. All these fragrant substances are magic plants that have been given to us by Mother Earth.