New wedding traditions in Tukmenistan

Monday, October 31, 2011
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the former dentist and current President of Turkmenistan, is opening a new Palace of Happiness for newlyweds in his country. 

In fact, he is plunging headfirst into the wedding business. At a recent ceremony where he awarded himself the title Hero of Turkmenistan he also issued degrees regarding proper wedding day festivities. 

As the Guardian reports in the article Turkmen couples ordered to plant trees and visit monuments on wedding day
In the latest example of what might generously be called his eccentric approach to power, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ordered couples to plant trees and visit the city's main monuments on their big day. While most couples might hope to be raising a glass or two of champagne, Turkmen couples will now spend their wedding day visiting such romantic sites as the Earthquake Memorial, the Monument to the Constitution, the Monument to Independence and, finally, a second world war memorial.

The new requirements highlight "the exceptional importance of preserving family values in modern society and raising the younger generation to respect the traditions and customs of the people", Berdymukhamedov said at a government meeting devoted to weddings last week.

I did notice that missing from the list of monuments was the Neutrality Monument, which is of course the giant twirling statue of the Turkmenbashi that I so admire. As the Occupy Wall Street protestors might say, "shame on you Berdymukhamedov, shame, shame, shame!"

At any rate, once the romantic nuptial tour of monuments is completed and they make it to their wedding reception they still haven't freed themselves from Berdymukhamedov's lunacy. As I reported earlier in Good news & bad news: 
Having apparently demolished the visual arts, Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Culture, Television and Radio Broadcasting has stated that all songs should now be orientated towards promoting the New Renaissance epoch. Of course, it goes without saying, the best way to do that is to sing the praises of the Arkadag [ED: another name for President Berdymukhamedov].

As the Chronicles of Turkmenistan report in their article Patriotic repertoire for restaurants and cafes, this even goes so far as dictating to dining establishments that that are "responsible for the content of the songs, performed during staff parties, weddings and other festivities which are held at their venues." In other words, it's now all Askadag praise, all the time. (emphasis added)

Gah, poor Turkmenistanis, there is no escaping the lunatic. Soon he'll be issuing decrees that they need to Honeymoon in Avaza.