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Norouz in Turkmenistan

In Turkmenistan, on the eve of Norouz, an unmarried young man eats half of a pastry and goes to bed without drinking water. It is believed that he will be marrying the girl who offers him water in his dream.

Tehran, 29 March 2006 (CHN) -- The spring festival of Norouz is one of Turkmenistan's biggest holidays. It is an Islamic adaptation of pre-Islamic vernal equinox or renewal celebrations and can include traditional games, music and drama festivals, street art and colorful fairs.

The Turkmen call the first day of the new year Novruz. Five or six days before Novruz, Turkmen families start cleaning their houses. Food and dishes such as Turkmen pastry, Turkmen petir, külce, fatty brek, sekseke, koko, bovursak and Turkmen rice are prepared. It is believed that preparing many different kinds of food will bring good luck for the following year. Semeni is the special food made during Nevroz. Many families come together and prepare the food in a big cauldron by adding flour and sugar to wheat. Semeni is cooked the day before it is to be eaten, and is readied for the morning of March 21st.

During Norouz holidays a game called Gkbri is played in Turkmenistan which is the chief game played in this country. Horse races, sword racing, wrestling and other contests also take place during the New Year holidays in Turkmenistan.

Local entertainment is also included in Norouz feast. The young people compete by citing Mani (a traditional Turkish quatrain form) among them. In addition to these games, very joyful celebrations are realized on 21st of March. In the past, special paste, sherbet and gifts were prepared and the senior rulers of the state offered them to each other from the elder to the younger. These customs still continue under the name Mesir Macunu Senlikleri.

In another practice, on that night an unmarried young man eats half of a pastry baked from salted dough called "tuzlu gllk" and goes to bed without drinking any water. It is believed that he will be marrying the girl who offers him water in his dream. The next day he puts the remaining half of the pastry on the chimney or the roof of his house. If a crow grabs the pastry, and rests on a roof top to eat it, it is believed that the young man will marry the daughter of that house or, if the crow does not stop but flies away that he will be marrying someone from afar.

At some areas, the young girls and boys who gather at a house in the evening send a little child to fetch some water. The child brings a bucket of water without talking and without looking back. Colored threads and pins, representing those who are there are thrown into the bucket. It is believed that the owners of threads and pins which entangle would be marrying each other.

Norouz, marked by Turkmen people from time immemorial, nearly disappeared from people's life in the 20th century. Having become independent, they restored this beautiful spring holiday. Today, Norouz Bayram, combined with "Day of Turkmen Woman" and transformed into National Spring Holiday, has a new meaning. Turkmen celebrate this day in a new fashion, widely and solemnly. National Spring Holiday, being part of spiritual values that were brought back to the people, inspires people to new great deeds, makes people believe in good and gives birth to new hope.

... Payvand News - 3/30/06 ... --

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