Good Neighborliness Day

Good Neighborliness Day is a public holiday observed on the first Sunday of December in Turkmenistan every year. The purpose of this holiday is to encourage citizens to meet with their neighbors and establish a foundation of trust that will make the community stronger going forward.

How citizens choose to celebrate this holiday, however, is up to each individual community. Some communities organize block parties where people greet one another with bread, salt, fruits, and sweets. Other communities organize more elaborate gatherings that feature neighborhood decorations, parades, and other festivities.

Regardless of how each community celebrates this day, one thing is certain: it’s a public holiday, so day-to-day life operates as it normally would on the day that it falls.

The History of Good Neighborliness Day in Turkmenistan

The history dates back hundreds, if not thousands, of years to the ancient Turkmen tradition known as Goňşy Okara. The word Goňşy Okara literally means “Neighbor’s Bowl” and it alludes to the tradition of sharing bread and salt with one’s neighbor during everyday life.

This is a tradition that’s rooted in respect for the importance of the local community and respect for the people in that community. It’s also a tradition that fosters feelings of friendship and moral support for everyone involved.

Observing Good Neighborliness Day in Turkmenistan

This holiday is very much observed on the community level. It’s customary for people to leave a share of the meal that they cook for themselves to share with visiting guests and neighbors. This is known as Goňşy Pay. Of course, in larger communities such as in Ashgabat, celebrations can be even more elaborate than simply offering food to neighbors and guests.

In these areas, it’s customary for neighborhoods to be highly decorated with flags and other decorations, and for large-scale communal meals to take place. Even so, this is a public holiday in Turkmenistan, so businesses and schools operate according to their normal operating hours.

Where is it celebrated?
Turkmenistan (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 1 Sunday
Next year (2025)
December 7 Sunday
Last year (2023)
December 3 Sunday