National Holidays of Turkestan

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Weekend

Due to the different weekly holy days of its various religious communities, Turkestan has since independence in 1922 instituted a policy of having a "rolling weekend", with the different religious communities getting their weekend in separate, overlapping blocks.

That is to say, the Zoroastrian community have Thursday (the Zoroastrian holy day) and Friday off, the Muslim and Judaist communities have Friday (Muslim holy day) and Saturday (Jewish/Judaist holy day) off, and the Christian communities have Saturday and Sunday (the Christian holy day) off.

Smaller religious communities, e.g., Manesians, Buddhists, Tengriists and Burxanists generally fit in with one of the three main options. Most businesses are willing to flex a little for minority religions, but not all are, and sometimes a member of a smaller faith community might not be able to take their holy day off work.

National Holidays

In addition to the above situation regarding weekends, there are eleven days designated as State Holidays, which everyone gets off work (aside from certain classes of emergency personnel, military, recreation industries etc, which are duly compensated for having to work a state holiday).

In rough order through the year, they are:

Navruz Jaş

(21 March)

Navruz is the old Persian New Year festival, celebrated at the Spring Equinox. Formerly, the Spring Equinox began the year, and the celebrations continued for the entire month of Navruz. However, for the last couple of centuries the festivities have tended to be more localised to a few days directly following the equinox.

At the standardisation of the Central Asian Calendar, the months were brought into line with the Gregorian calendar, but the celebration of the Navruz holiday was kept at the equinox; by tradition the 21st of the month, even in years when the equinox technically falls on the 22nd.

As far as celebration of the holiday is concerned, there will be street parties everywhere that there isn't still snow on the ground, and festive gatherings held inside the large public buildings. The annual Silk Road International Festival is also usually scheduled to begin at Navruz, unless this would make the Festival collide with important regional religious holidays like Easter or Qorban Jaş.

Paşaq Jaş

(variable)

Paşaq Jaş is the Christian celebration of Easter. In the Assyrian Church, it is the single greatest feast of the calendar, easily eclipsing Christmas, Pentecost and all the other feasts. Due to its importance, and because of the rolling weekend arrangement of Turkestan, everyone gets a full four-day weekend from Thursday to Sunday.

The date of Easter Sunday is calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon after Navruz:

2008 23 March
2009 12 April
2010 4 April
2011 24 April
2012 8 April
2013 31 March
2014 20 April
2015 05 April

Qurultaı Jaş

(1 May)

Qurultaı Jaş is the national commemoration of the Qurultaı government, and is the first of the three big patriotic holidays on the calendar. During the EBÜK period, this holiday was banned.

Tırağan Jaş

(1 July)

Tırağan (Jeshan-e-Tiragan) is a Zoroastrian rain festival connected with the ascendance of the star Sirius. Members of the Zoroastrian community tie rainbow-coloured ribbons to their wrists, wear them for ten days and then dispose of them in a stream. Children, particularly those of the Zoroastrian community, though to an extent, everyone, go out to the nearest running water streams and duck each other under the water for luck.

Mamlıkat Jaş

(22 July)

This is Turkestani Independence Day, the anniversary of the signing of the treaty with Russia that established and recognised Turkestan as an independent state.

Ayd Jaş

(variable)

Ayd Jaş is the Muslim celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramazan (= Ramadan). The Muslim community celebrate by going from house to house reciting Qur'anic blessings and eating.

Ayd Jaş is calculated according to the Islamic lunar calendar, so its date moves continually backwards through the year:

2008 1 October
2009 21 September
2010 10 September
2011 31 August
2012 19 August
2013 8 August
2014 29 July
2015 19 July

Mıhrağan Jaş

(1 October)

Jeshan-e-Mihragan is a Zoroastrian solar feast and important harvest festival.

Qorban Jaş

(variable)

Qorban Jaş is the Central Asian term for Eid-ul-Adha, the Muslim feast commemorating Abraham's sacrifice of his son. (IB Central Asian Muslims, except for the most radical, tend to keep a little quieter on the precise identity of which son it was).

As with the other Muslim feasts, it is calculated according to a lunar calendar and moves backwards through the year:

2008 8 December
2009 27 November
2010 16 November
2011 6 November
2012 26 October
2013 15 October
2014 4 October
2015 23 September

Basmaçı Jaş

(13 December)

Basmaçı Jaş is the anniversary of the first beginning of the Basmaçı Revolt.

Adur Jaş

(25 December)

The Christian celebration of Christmas and the Zoroastrian holiday of Jeshan-e-Sadeh both fall on the 25th December, so the two celebrations have sort of merged and informed one another. Due to several years' worth of Mohammed's birthday falling around the same time, that Muslim festive time has been tacked on as well. The resultant festival is called Adur Jaş, the Feast of Fire.

The Christian custom of giving presents has persisted, as has the Zoroastrian bonfire. Both religious cultures had food involved in the celebration; in Turkestan this tends to be a kind of toasted bread-and-meat parcel called Törtgöşli. Törtgöşlis, literally Tört göşli samsalar ("Four meat pies"), are made with meat from the four traditional livestock categories: cattle, sheep and goats, horses, and camels. They are toasted over the bonfire, or fried in a large pan, and given to others. "To fry your own törtgöşlis" is a Turkestani idiom meaning "to have no friends".

Families will go from one bonfire to another (leaving behind someone chosen by lot to tend the fire and the pan), bringing small presents and törtgöşlis to fry or toast, and sing, dance, give each other blessings, and then move on. Everyone participates. It is one of the great unifiers of Turkestani society.

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