Young Pioneer Tours

Top 5 National Holidays in Central Asia

# 5 Nowruzturkmenistan

Celebrated all over Central Asia, Nowruz is actually Persian New Year, but has been adopted since the Soviet Union as a local tradition. Exactly how it’s celebrated varies throughout the region, but there’s always a concert in the main square in the cities, generally coupled with an arts and crafts market. In more rural areas people will be dressed fully in national dress, dancing and singing on the streets and sharing home-cooked meals with their neighbours.

#4. Turkmenistan Melon Dayturkmenistan

This holiday marks the beginning of the melon season, and really is as ridiculous as it sounds. There will be melon stands and displays in the many exhibition centres that the city holds, with free tasters, melons for sale, but most importantly lots of pictures of the President advising the farmers on best practices. If you venture out of Ashgabat to one of the smaller towns or villages, melons will be lining the street and locals will be out in full force showing each other their favourite ones.

Click here for information on tours to Turkmenistan.

#3. Kyrgyzstan Independence Daykyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan’s Inpependence Day military parade, takes place in Bishkek’s main square, Ala Too Square, which is a spectacularly wide boulevard designed just for this kind of thing. It’s almost as if the Soviet Union had military parades in mind when they designed their cities! And you’ll feel like you’re back in Soviet times as you watch military units, tanks and rockets and even an airshow. Later on, in the evening, the square turns into an open-air discotheque with all the youngsters of Bishkek coming out to dance the night away to a live concert of Kyrgyzstan’s favourite popstars.

Check out our Kyrgyzstan Independence Day tour here.

#2. Turkmenistan Horse Festivalturkmenistan

The start of the horse racing season, and the President’s personal favourite holiday, you get a real insight into Turkmen culture and daily life. Arriving at least five hours early on an allocated government bus (the only way to travel to an official event), in order to make sure that everyone is seated well and truly before the President himself shows signs of rocking up, there’s plenty of time to soak it all in. Most of the rest of the stands will be already full of students in their uniform of long red traditional dresses for the girls and a black suit and tie with traditional hat for the boys, holding huge Turkmen flags. And if you can make heads and tails of the guidebook and figure out who owns which horse, it won’t be too hard to predict the winner of each race.

Click here for information on tours to Turkmenistan.

#1. Turkmenistan Independence Dayturkmenistan

Think North Korean Mass Games, now add Turkmen National dress, carpets, horses and yurts, and you’ve got the Independence Day concert. We’re usually seated directly behind the President, because of course the other three sides of the stadiums are taken up by students and performers in columns or start shapes of matching coloured tracksuits, or holding materials to spell out words. In 2015 we were the first tourists to ever see this concert, and still every year we are the only ones.


Check out our Turkmenistan Independence Day tour here.

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