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Religious Events and Holidays

Turkmen observe Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. During this time they refrain from eating, smoking, or drinking from dawn to dusk. After dark, Turkmen families and friends get together to pray and celebrate the end of the day’s fast.

There are two religious holidays celebrated by the Turkmen:

Kurban Bayramy (also called Gurbanlyk) and Oraza Bayramy.

Kurban Bayramy is a 3-day holiday. It is celebrated with the sacrifice of a sheep and preparation of traditional foods shared with friends and family. This day, equivalent to Eid al-Adha in other Islamic cultures, commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son. People also play on huge swings especially built for this day, believing that they can cleanse their souls by sailing through the air.

Oraza Bayramy corresponds to Eid al-Fitr in the Arabic-speaking world and marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Beginning at midnight on this day, Turkmen dress is their finest clothes and go out to celebrate at parties and feasts with family and friends. The celebrations are accompanied with music and dance. On this day, the president announces the decree of amnesty for those who repent for their crimes. Thousands of prisoners are pardoned and return home to celebrate with their families.