Five Things You Need to Know About Turkmen Weddings

Image of a Turkmen bride (screenshot taken from a YouTube video uploaded by Basim Annanow)

Image of a Turkmen bride. Screenshot taken from a YouTube video uploaded by Basim Annanow

Ýigit çal söýgi sazyňy,

Gelin artdyr sen näziňi

Oýnaň şadyýan tansyny çünki bugün toý toý

Aýdalyň biz toý aýdymy, bugün bizde toý toý 

Young man play the music of love, 

Bride flirt a little more, 

Dance your happy moves because it is wedding day, 

We will sing our wedding song,

Today we are celebrating.

Weddings are incredibly important to Turkmen. Marrying off sons and daughters symbolizes the continuation of community life and the supremacy of the family in society. Traditionally Turkmen have big families and a wedding is a chance to see even the furthest-flung relatives, as well as display your status to the neighbours.

A number of must-do rituals and traditions apply to a Turkmen wedding day. Here is a short summary of things to observe:

1. You have to have a famous singer! You are going to dance in the streets, da! 

If you have near-exclusive access to the country's national gas wealth, you can hire J-Lo, but even if you don't your crooner has to get the people up and on their feet.

Below is an example of some top notch wedding singing from local star Kakysh:

Şemal näz edip öwüsýär şugün

Güller näz edip öwüsýär şügün

Ýarym näz edip ýylgyrsaň senem

Toý güni aýly günüm, sögülim şugün.

The wind blows gently flirting,

The flower blooms gently flirting,

My beloved you will gently smile,

My beloved today is our wedding day

On one of Turkmenistan's most popular chat forums,, users discussed the lyrics of the song.

NitrogeN praises [tkm] Kakysh, and poses a question about a muse that appears regularly in his songs:

gowy aydyaray Kakysh. Aydymlarynyng köpüsinde Läle sözi geçyär. Shondan yanan oydyan 

Kakysh sings well. In many of his songs he uses the name Läle. Maybe she broke his heart.

Meka MerGenius is also curious [tkm] about the man behind the voice:

Kakyş Amandurdyyew näz edyär mi?

Does Kakysh Amandurdyyew flirt?

Other netizens share [tkm] their philosophy on marriage:

oylenyancha her hili sozler aydylyar son kan aydylanok

Right before the marriage they say all kinds of words, but don't talk too much after

NitrogeN continues, joking [tkm]:

durmusha cykyp semreyar song shemal akidip bilenok

When they get married, they become fat, and the wind can't take them away anymore

2. A wedding dress should show the bride off because later she will wear a headscarf and close her mouth in front of husband's parents.

Wedding dresses in Turkmenistan are highly diverse, coming in different colors and patterns, and at different prices. A traditional Turkmen wedding robe and dress — once decorated with silver — might weigh more than 35 kilograms.

The heavy robe makes way for a traditional white dress when things get dancy. Screenshot from a YouTube video uploaded by Andrey Kniaz.

The heavy robe makes way for a traditional white dress when things get dancy. Screenshot from a YouTube video uploaded by Andrey Kniaz.

3. Get ready for photos — group photos!

Turkmen families rarely fit into a single shot (Screenshot from a YouTube video uploaded by Turkmen Owazy).

Turkmen families rarely fit into a single shot. Screenshot from a YouTube video uploaded by Turkmen Owazy.

4. Also, make sure you take a photo in front of President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov's portrait.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has inquired whether this tradition is an official order or an unofficial practice. The service quotes witnesses who confirm that the photo is an integral part of any official wedding ceremony. This does not seem to create any problem for netizens, however. 

Alex comments [ru]:

всё нормально, я бы тоже сфоткался!

It's alright. I would take a photo there too!

5. The most exciting part is always the build up to the ceremony itself. The groom comes to take the bride from her house.

She is duty-bound to show her sadness because she is leaving her parents forever. This is the most touching part of the wedding as the bride's relatives come to say goodbye to her. A sad and happy moment all in one.


Every bride must say goodbye to her beloved. Photo uploaded by Zarina Max

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