Halcyon days

In 2002 President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan decided to rename both the months of the year and the days of the week. Some months were to take the names of heroes of Turkmenistan’s past, but January was to become Turmenbashi, after the president’s official name (‘Head of all the Turkmen’). In response to this suggestion that April should become known as ‘Mother’, one of his supporters suggested that instead it should be named after the president’s mother, Gurbansoltan-eje. The president heeded this advice.

The days of the week were also renamed: Monday became Major (main of first) Day; Tuesday, Young Day; Wednesday, Favourable Day; Thursday, Blessed Day; Friday remained as it was; but Saturday became spiritual Day; and Sunday, Rest Day.