Melon Day held every August becomes one of the most colorful events on the Ashgabat streets
Celebration of the Melon Day held every August becomes one of the most colorful events on the Ashgabat streets. Mountains of ripe gifts of the generous Turkmen melon plantations spring up on the improvised fairs. Culinary experts exercise in their skill to serve dessert tables in unoriginal way and numerous visitors of festivities have an opportunity both to taste any of fruits they liked and take delicatessen home for the feast.

Of course, none of the festivities is held without music, favorite songs and rousing dances. And folk singers – bakhshi – will specially select legends and tales about the queen of the holiday – Turkmen melon. There are many such songs and parables kept in the folk memory.

The records of exclusive taste qualities of melons grown in the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, in the valleys of Tejen and Murghab rivers may be found in the memoirs of travelers from the ancient times. These fruits were considered a divine food, giving vital energy and extending youth. There is historical data that in many countries the Turkmen melons were sold for gold, and sometimes European rulers organized special parties for the narrow circle of especially close people with the incomparable Turkmen melon being the main treatment of the event.

The modern Turkmen breeders have about 400 sorts of melons at their disposal. All of them differ according to the size and ripening periods. Tiny fruits of the early ripening variety “Dessemaya” weigh about fifty grams and the weight of the late ripening giants “Myhmansovar” exceeds twenty kilograms.

Nowadays, in the widespread agricultural production only some of the varieties the breeders have at their disposal are cultivated. Preferences are given to the most popular sorts. The current generation of scientists thoroughly studies the richest experience of the Turkmen people in the sphere of plant growing, applying achievements of the modern agricultural science, too. All of this constitutes inseparable part of the state agricultural development programs.

The generosity of the Turkmen sun, the long period of stable high temperatures allows people to enjoy the melon production from May till late fall. Skillful storage of winter melons harvested in November provides an opportunity to serve the fragrant delicatessen till next March. However, the ripening peak of the majority of the tastiest varieties falls on August-September, when due to the melon abundance you don’t know where to look first and the human consuming capabilities become futile in the attempt to taste everything at once.

Among the good Turkmen traditions there is a rule to gather many guests on the occasion of large family holidays. This year, the organization of the Melon Day festivities coincided with the convening of the international agricultural forum enabling to increase the number of honorable guests many times.

The international exhibition and scientific conference “Turkmenagro-2008” have become a certain rehearsal for the workers of the agro-industrial complex of Turkmenistan for holding large-scale international activities. In one year, Turkmenistan will have to receive the participants of a major agricultural exhibition of the CIS countries in accordance with the proposal made by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to his colleagues at the CIS summit this summer. The mutual interest in the intensive development of agriculture allows organizers to count on the great attractiveness of the forthcoming event for the majority of agricultural producers from not only the CIS countries but many potential partners from dozens of countries of the world.

Therefore, the recently held exhibition “Turkmenagro-2008” could be considered a preparation stage for the future big forum. The main exhibition center in the Turkmen capital provided the area of 1500 sq m for major world-known firms and local producers to display the best technologies during three days. The visitors and participants of the conference were introduced to the large-scale exposition with the most diverse produce starting from foodstuffs to the state-of-the-art machinery.

The scientific and practical conference on the important issues of agro-industrial complex development became significant inseparable part of the event. Specialists from many foreign countries and representatives of structural divisions of the agricultural sector of Turkmenistan attended the conference. Scientists from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Spain, Turkey and other counties shared the achievements in the agrarian science, research results in the high-tech sphere. Over 100 reports were delivered at the conference.

The agricultural producers’ forum in combination with the large-scale activities in the frames of the national Melon Day holiday on the streets of Ashgabat has initiated a new tradition – to honor the yellow-side queen of the dastarkhan (tablecloth) at the imposing international level. One can be absolutely confident: no matter how many guests will the traditional national holiday of the generosity of the Turkmen nature gather, there will be enough of fragrant sweet melon fruit to treat all participants of the festivity.