Sunday, 11 August 2013

Melon Day

Today, being the second Sunday of August, is Melon Day in Turkmenistan. This celebration of the very superior melons of glorious nation Turkmenistan was inaugurated in 1994 by President Saparmurat Niyazov, who preferred to be known as 'Turkmenbashi' - leader of the Turkmens - a name he also bestowed on the most succulent variety of melon, a hybrid whose superior qualities made it the undisputed leader of the Turkmen melons (rather as the haggis is the great chieftain o' the pudden race). Melon Day involves abundant displays of the fruit in all its varieties, dances, music events and all things conducive to the glorification of the melon.
'Almighty God,' declared Turkmenbashi (the man not the melon) in 2004, 'has turned Turkmen soil into a fertile source of an abundance of the tastiest fruits. Among them are Turkmen melons, which are the result of farmers' hard work and which have a unique taste reminiscent of the fruit of Paradise.' 
'The Turkmen melon,' he remarked on another occasion, 'is the source of our pride. Its taste has no equal in the world, the smell makes your head spin.' No wonder the doughty Turkmens are so keen to celebrate their melons. 
They also, by the way, have an annual celebration of the wonders of water. It falls on the first Sunday of April and goes by the name Drop of Water Is a Grain of Gold Festival.

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