Renaming of Turkmen months and days of week, 2002
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.
Niyazov died in 2006. 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. The old names were finally restored in July 2008.
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||Meaning "The Leader of Turkmen", the adopted name of Saparmurat Niyazov, president of Turkmenistan and author of Ruhnama.|
|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|