Turkmenistan celebrates Novruz each year with a two-day holiday. Novruz has been observed for some 3,000 years in Central Asia and Iran.
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Novruz is the old Persian New Year, celebrated by the ancient Zoroastrians and by many Aryans and Turks. The name means “New Day”, and it’s considered the first day of spring. In fact, it is usually celebrated on 21 March, at the official beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
In Turkmenistan, the main centre of celebration for Novruz is in the valley of Akhal, which is set on plains in the mountainous foothills. It is a wide expanse that offers plenty of space to set up traditional Turkish tents called “yurts” and to enjoy the picture-perfect surroundings. A bazaar is set up too, and people come to buy all manner of traditional souvenirs and trinkets. Symbolic gates, courtyards, and tall swing sets are also erected for the event.
Also, the Novruz air is filled with the melody and voice of musicians who are also story-tellers, while “strong men” wrestle and the crowd cheers. Replicas of all the most important monuments in Turkmenistan are set up in the valley, and the people feast like on no other day, especially on semeni (wheat treats), kebabs, and aromatic rice pilaf.