ASHGABAT, August 14 (Itar-Tass) — Turkmenistan by tradition marks the Melon Day, an annual national holiday devoted to “a golden and sunny fruit”, which the Turkmens praise as high as their Ahalteke horse and handmade carpet.
Every second Sunday of August the nationwide celebrations feature fruit fairs selling and entertaining visitors with melon, watermelon, grape, plums and pears.
“Melon is recognized the country’s national wealth and symbolises talent and hard work of Turkmen farmers,” Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said in his congratulatory message.
According to the local plant breeders, over 420 sorts of Turkmen melons have been bred over the past 14 centuries.
At present, farmers of the Central Asian republic plant over 200 sorts of melon. The Turkmen sun-dried melon with its delicious sweet honey taste is known all over the world, while local shops sell even oil from melon seeds.
On this day every Turkmen family will put a sweet-scented melon on the table. This fruit contains such vital minerals as potassium, sodium and iron. Although a sugar share in some sorts of the Turkmen melon exceeds 17-19 percent, it easily quenches one’s thirst and cools on a hot day.
The Independence Park in Ashgabat will host festivities, concerts and competitions.
This holiday was established by Turkmenistan’s former president Saparmurat Niyazov in 1994.