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Public Holidays

Turkmenistan has some particularly wacky holidays, including Melon Day, Horse Day and 'A Drop of Water is a Grain of Gold' Day.

The following Islamic holidays are observed lightly in ex-Soviet Central Asia and are cultural, not public, holidays. Dates are fixed by the Islamic lunar calendar, which is shorter than the Western solar calendar, beginning 10 to 11 days earlier in each solar year. Dates given here are approximate (within a day or two). The holidays normally run from sunset to the next sunset.

Ramazan is observed with little fanfare in most of Central Asia, though you will find some restaurants closed during the day, reopening in the evening as families convene to break the day's fast.

Ramazan (15 May 2018, 5 May 2019, 23 April 2020, 13 April 2021) Also known as Ramadan, the month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting. Dates mark the beginning of Ramazan.

Eid al-Fitr (14 June 2018, 4 June 2019, 23 May 2020, 13 May 2021) Also called Ruza Hayit in Uzbekistan, and Orozo Ait in Kyrgyzstan. This involves two or three days of celebrations at the end of Ramazan, with family visits, gifts, a great banquet (known as Iftar) to break the fast and donations to the poor.

Eid al-Azha (23 August 2018, 12 August 2019, 31 July 2020, 20 July 2021) Also called Eid-e Qurban, Kurban Bayram, Qurban Hayit or Kurban Ait in Central Asia. This is the Feast of Sacrifice. Those who can afford it buy and slaughter a goat or sheep, sharing the meat with relatives and with the poor. This is also the season for the haj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

Moulid an-Nabi (20 November 2018, 9 November 2019, 28 October 2020, 18 October 2021) The birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. A minor celebration in Central Asia, though you might notice mosques are a little fuller.