CIU students from Turkmenistan celebrated their national independence day last week with an evening of traditional Turkmen entertainment and food.

Students from Turkmenistan, along with peers from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan and many other countries, marked the anniversary of their Independence with various activities arranged both by the student community and by CIU’s international office.

Guests were warmly welcomed with the words “Hosh geldiniz!” by a student wearing a white ‘telpek’, a traditional Turkmen in national white woollen hat, and courteously ushered into a large hall. The evening began with a performance of the national anthem of Turkenistan, which was followed by traditional dances performed by male and female students representing the Turkmen community.

In addition, students staged dramas for the audience, reflecting a vigorous patriotic spirit and national pride. The international audience responded enthusiastically  to the evening’s entertainment.

Batyr Karayev: In Turkmenistan, festive events usually begin with a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument of Independence – a magnificent memorial complex at the foot of the Kopetdag Mountains. This monument symbolizes Turkmenistan’s sovereignty, which we gained 21 years ago. Here in Cyprus students from Turkmenistan went for a picnic, spending a wonderful time in the mountains and traveled around the capital.

Musa Hudaykuliyev: As for the family celebrations at home, our closest relatives normally meet in my house and greet the holiday with an abundant table in which plov (or pilav) and lamb are the dominant dishes. This occasion is a wonderful opportunity for us to see each other and to unite.

Batyr Karayev: Turkmen people have at all times remained courteous and entirely devoted to traditions of hospitality. Our country has a lot of interesting things for the guests who come to visit us. For example, you might discover that the horse is our national symbol as it represents freedom and wealth. I should mention the Akhal Teke, which is  just one of the horses bred by the Turkmen. Of that breed, the golden dun is the most cherished. The legend of these horses reaches far back into antiquity when horses were known as the purveyors of the gods. Our horses have the most beautiful coats with a golden sheen that is soft and silky to touch. The approximate cost of one horse is 2 million dollars.

Musa Hudaykuliyev: We are patriots. Even when we go abroad, we unite and celebrate our national holidays together – that’s a reflection of our amicable society. We have great historical and cultural bonds, wonderful traditions of mutual understanding, and we respect our brothers in neighboring countries. And as you may already know, Turkmenistan is a very multicultural country and every citizen makes his or her own contribution to the wonderful patchwork of our society.