The city of Mary hosted main Novruz festivities in the square in front of the Cultural Events Center, “Türkmeniň Ak Öýi”. Opened in 2015 when the city was a culture capital of the Turkic World, the center became the first of its kind. In accordance with the Decree issued by President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, a similar 3,000-seat concert hall is now under construction in “Nowruz Ýaylasy”, a specially-designated area not far from Ashgabat.
Among those attending the festivities in honor of Novruz were the Mejlis Chairperson, government members, leaders of ministries and agencies, regional governors, representatives of public organizations, foreign and local media, heads of the foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited to Turkmenistan, creative workers of our country, numerous residents and delegations from all velayats, foreign guests. At the airport, the guests received a warm welcome and were offered to taste mouth-watering toi-pishme, traditional national sweets and fruits.
Nearby the “Türkmeniň Ak Öýi” Center, is a big improvised traditional village with yurts, livestock, steaming cauldrons, and an oriental bazaar with its many-colored stalls, energetic sellers and performers entertaining the event attendees.
The event participants were greeted with fast-paced music and dances performed by artistic groups, soloists and folk groups. Children enthusiastically recited poems and sang cheerful songs for the guests. They also demonstrated children’s folk entertaining games; boys were playing with little bones and girls – with handmade dolls. Four-footed “characters”– charming alabai puppies, lambs and other animals fit perfectly into the scene.
Each region of the country gave its musical and ethnographic performances, presented exhibitions and theatrical sketches with various traditional Novruz rituals.
Some people were making ploughs; others were busy making musical instruments, sellers were briskly selling their sheepskin hats and embroidered caps. On offer were bright silks, glazed jugs and dishes. Nearby were unmatched Turkmen carpets, beautiful items of jewelry and national embroidery. Old melodies performed by bakhshi (folk singers), who were surrounded by enthusiastic listeners, created an wonderful background.
The ceremony participants had a chance to see how national dishes were made to old recipes, including the main Novruz dish – “semeni” and witness the traditional wedding and family rituals. All these theatrical performances were accompanied by songs, riddles and sayings.
Big models of famous historical monuments of Turkmenistan – Ancient Merv, Kounyaurgench, Dehistan, Anau, and others, added to the atmosphere of the fascinating excursion into the past.
The exhibitions featured achievements of modern Turkmenistan in various sectors – agricultural products, textiles and others.
An art exhibition was devoted to the beauty of spring, Turkmen nature and its bounty, the people living in harmony with it. The collection of paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts of Turkmenistan was on display together with works by students of the State Academy of Arts and pupils of the special art school.
During the celebrations, everyone could taste delicious food cooked in cauldrons on the spot. The guests sampled the dishes of national cuisine with delight and interest. Drinks, such as chal (camel’s milk), hot green tea made over fire were also on offer.
Young people gathered by high swings, decorated with floral garlands. A ride on the swing is regarded as ritual cleansing, which enables to welcome in the New Year with fresh energy, and open heart.
Performed by the country’s art masters, a gala concert was held on the stage of the “Türkmeniň Ak Öýi” Center. The audience was presented with a great number of pop songs, which have become true classics, including from favorite films.
“Galkynysh”, the national equestrian group, gave an impressive performance – “Gyratym girse meýdana”. Brave riders astride magnificent horses demonstrated to music their matchless proficiency, having left the audience overwhelming emotions and earned thunderous applause.
Original literary-musical, folk-ethnographic compositions reflected the characteristic features of national culture. Everlasting, ancient dance “kushtdepti” once again won the hearts of the audience with its movements and rhythm. A theatrical performance, “Mirasyma sarpam bar!” with the participation of all performers was the grand finale of the concert, which reflected the optimistic philosophy of Novruz.
The festive events continued at “Toi Mekany” of the “Bagt Köşgi” Banquet Hall, where a sadaqah ceremony was held.
When night fell, ritual fires were lit in the square in front of the “Türkmeniň Ak Öýi” Center. To the accompaniment of songs and music, members of folk groups as well as anyone who wished, jumped over the flames as our ancestors did in those far-off days with a belief that it would bring them luck and wellbeing.
Festive concerts and mass cultural events were held in all administrative centers of our country’s regions and Ashgabat city.
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