Renaming of Turkmen months and days of week, 2002

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On August 10, 2002, the government of Turkmenistan adopted a law to rename all the months and most of the days of week. The names were chosen according to Turkmen national symbols, as described in Ruhnama, a book written by Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan's first president for life. According to Arto Halonen's documentary film The Shadow of the Holy Book, the Turkish businessman Ahmet Çalık came up with the idea to rename the months, as he was trying to befriend Niyazov in order to expand his business in the country.

After the law was passed the new names were used in all Turkmen state-owned media. Publications in languages other than Turkmen often use the new names too, especially those that were targeted at Russian-speaking citizens of Turkmenistan, with the old name sometimes written in brackets. The old month names were still used in popular speech, however.[1]

On April 23, 2008 it was reported that the cabinet of ministers of Turkmenistan discussed restoring the old names of the months and days of week.[2] The old names were finally restored in July 2008.[1]

The original month names were taken from the Russian language. The adopted Turkmen month names were as follows:

English name Old Turkmen name Adopted Turkmen name (2002-2008) Explanation
January Ýanwar Türkmenbaşy The adopted name of Saparmurat Niyazov, president of Turkmenistan and author of Ruhnama, meaning "The Leader of Turkmen".
February Fewral Baýdak Flag - the Turkmenistan flag day is celebrated in February on Niyazov's birthday.
March Mart Nowruz The traditional Persian new year, which is celebrated in March.
April Aprel Gurbansoltan Gurbansoltan Eje - The name of Niyazov's mother.
May Maý Magtymguly Magtymguly Pyragy - Turkmen poet, considered by Niyazov as one of the greatest spiritual teachers of the Turkmen people.
June Iýun Oguz Oguz Khan - the founder of the Turkmen nation, according to Ruhnama (see Oghuz).
July Iýul Gorkut The hero of "Gorkut-Ata" Turkmen epic.
August Awgust Alp Arslan The second leader of the Seljuk Empire, fought a war with the Byzantine Empire and initiated Turkish migration into Asia Minor.
September Sentýabr Ruhnama Niyazov's book, defined as a spiritual guide for the Turkmen nation.
October Oktýabr Garaşsyzlyk Independence - Turkmenistan's Independence Day is celebrated in October.
November Noýabr Sanjar The last ruler of the Seljuk Empire.
December Dekabr Bitaraplyk Neutrality - Turkmenistan was proclaimed a neutral country, and the Neutrality Day is celebrated in December.

The original names of the days of the week come from Persian. The adopted names were as follows:

English name Old Turkmen name Adopted Turkmen name Explanation
Monday Duşenbe Başgün First day
Tuesday Sişenbe Ýaşgün Young day
Wednesday Çarşenbe Hoşgün Favourable day
Thursday Penşenbe Sogapgün Justice day
Friday Anna Annagün Added the Turkmen word gün (day) to the old Persian-based name
Saturday Şenbe Ruhgün Spirit day
Sunday Ýekşenbe Dynçgün Rest day

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