Customs and traditions
Turkmen are said to have three parallel
identities: customer affiliation, national identity and
an identity that crosses national boundaries and brings
together all Turkmen in different countries. An
important part of Turkmen identity is Islam.
Before the Soviet era (1920–1991), the Turkmen lived
as nomads, divided into different clans. They mainly
depended on breeding sheep, goats, camels and horses.
The transition to permanent housing began gradually
during the 18th century, but it was only with the Soviet
system that almost the entire population became
Overview of the capital city of Turkmenistan, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Customer affiliation is still of great social
importance today. Loyalty between members of the same
clan is strong and respect for clan leaders is great.
The two presidents who have ruled Turkmenistan after
independence in 1991 have sometimes been described as
two clan leaders in their leadership style. They have
been honored with titles such as "türkmenbaşi" (the
leader of all Turkmen), the protectors of the mountains
or the Hero of the Nation.
Turkmen are scattered in several countries, such as
Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
A large majority of Turkmen profess Islam (see
Religion). Even the Battle of Gök Tepe in 1881, when
thousands of men, women and children were killed by the
Russians, bind the Turkmen together (see Older History).
Horse important symbol
An important cultural symbol for the Turkmen is their
famous thoroughbred horses, the Achalteks. From
the 1920s, the Soviet power tried to mix up the Achaeans
with Russian horses, which angered Turkmenistan. In 1935
a group of Turkmen traveled all the way to Moscow to
protest against this. In 1973, only 18 purebred
achaltees were reported to be left in the Soviet Union.
After independence, breeding of more achaltees has
been given priority. The national currency, called,
is adorned with a picture of the thoroughbred horse and
the presidents are often seen riding a horse in public
context, for example on Independence Day on October 27.
Nowadays, the Achaltees have their own day of the year,
April 27, and also their own department.
Turkmen have adapted their lifestyle to the desert,
which makes up 90 percent of the land area.
Traditionally, Turkmen lived in simple tents, called
gara o˙, whose floors were covered with carpets
when it was time to sleep in the evening. There was no
real furniture. Nowadays, virtually everyone lives in
houses, although the tents are sometimes picked up
during holidays and vacations.
The shoes are always taken off before entering a
home. It is common for guests to receive indoor slippers
The tradition of eating their meals seated on pillows
around a widespread canvas on the floor lives on,
although many families (especially in the cities) also
have a kitchen table. Often men and women sit together
and eat, while cooking belongs to the woman's tasks. In
some families, men and women eat separately.
Turkmenian eating habits
The diet has influences from Russian cuisine, but
mainly traditional Turkmen food is eaten. Green tea (cuckoo
ҫa˙) is often drank, sometimes to cool off in the
desert heat, sometimes to stay warm during chilly desert
evenings. The tea is drunk for most meals, usually from
a low, bowl-like cup (tossed).
Turkmen eat a lot of meat, usually from sheep or
cattle, but also from camels, goats and chickens. The
milk from these animals is also used. The meat is eaten
cooked or baked in dough. Manty is a popular
meat dish topped with yogurt. Soups of meat and / or
noodles are common, not infrequently for breakfast.
Bread is eaten for every meal. Sometimes Russian bread
is bought, sometimes Turkmen flat bread (rekörek)
is baked at home in a domestic animal,
a kind of traditional dome-shaped clay oven that is
placed outdoors. In the cities, a domestic animal can be
divided between several properties.
Although almost all residents are Muslims, wine, beer
and liquor are found. Pork may also be on the menu.
Vegetables, fruits (both fresh and dried), nuts and
cereals are purchased at the local market, while butter,
water, milk and sausages are usually purchased in state
It is still common to dress in traditional clothing.
Women, especially in the countryside, often wear long
colorful single-colored dresses with embroidery (keşde)
around the neckline. Sometimes they cover their hair
with colorful scarves. However, there is no social
compulsion to cover the hair. The scarfs are used to
protect against sand and heat. Young girls often braid
their hair, while adult women have their hair loose.
Silver jewelry is very popular.
Among men, it is more common with western inspired
clothing. The most common are pants and jacket. Some men
wear the high traditional lamb wool hat,
telepek, especially in the summer.
At festivals and special events, such as weddings,
the men wear telephoto and wide, black trousers that are
tucked into high black boots. Older men wear sheepskin
fur with their fur turned inwards, or yellow and red
striped coats reaching down to their knees.
Rules for socializing and other social behaviors are
governed by traditional practices (adat). There
are a number of label guidelines (EDEP). In
addition, the Islamic law (şarigat) is
respected. Sometimes adat applies, sometimes
şarigat. Sometimes the two are combined. There are rules
for the division of responsibilities within the family
and clan as well as for ownership, marriage, family
life, respect for the elderly and superiors, hospitality
towards strangers (non-clan members) and more. Children
get to learn many of these rules early on by constantly
being close to adults, not just parents.
Holidays and Holidays
Most Turkmen celebrate the Muslim holidays. The
festive month of Ramadan ends with the festive holiday
oraz bayramy. This is followed 40 days later by
gurban bayramy when a sheep is slaughtered.
Burials are held according to Muslim tradition. Only
men participate. The women participate together with the
men on special memorial days - seven days, 40 days and
one year after the death of a relative or friend.
Among the secular holidays are the flag day on 19
February and the women's day on 8 March. The first day
of spring is usually celebrated on March 21. May 9
celebrates Victory Day, May 18 Constitution Day and
October 27 Independence Day. The Battle of Gök Tepe is
highlighted on January 12. The Turkmen horse has its own
day on April 27, and on May 25, the Turkmen rugs are
President Nijazov dies
The regime announces that President Saparmurat Nijazov (Saparmyrat Nyýazow)
has died as a result of a heart attack. He has then ruled the country with an
iron hand since independence in 1991. According to the constitution, the
chairman of the People's Council is to assume the presidency, but he is
overruled by the regime. The Deputy President of the Council, Gurbanguly
Berdimuhamedow, is instead appointed as acting president until a new
presidential election can be held.