Gurban Bayram, known in the Arab world as Eid al-Adha and sometimes as “The Big Eid,” is the Muslim feast of the sacrifice, commemorating Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) willingness to sacrifice his son. Though the sacrifices in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat were consigned mostly to the butcher shop, the three-day state holiday offered a prescribed opportunity for uniformed students to observe public dancing and music performances, as well as some family time.
At the Ottoman-style Ertogul Gazi mosque in central Ashgabat, known as the “Turkish Mosque,” because it was funded and opened by the Turks in 1996, roughly 3,000 men turned up for Friday prayers on November 19. One regular visitor said the number was tempered by the state-holiday. Many stayed at home, he said, having already prayed on the Bayram holiday earlier in the week.
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David Trilling is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor.