2nd Sunday in August
All right you cucurbitaceans, you’ve waited all year for this!
Today, the second Sunday of August, the country of Turkmenistan celebrates, not independence, not victory or freedom or liberty, but the glorious, almighty melon.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Melon Day? Shouldn’t we honor the melon, the noblest of fruits, every day?”
Yes we should. But in Turkmenistan they have taken melon worship to a new level, dedicating one of the country’s 19 national holidays to the fruit.
“All Turkmens celebrate this holiday. The Turkmen melon is the source of our pride, its taste has no equal in the world, the smell makes your head spin,” proclaimed Turkmenistan’s former leader, the late President Niyazov, who created the holiday in 1994.
Turkmenistan grows over 200 types of melon, ranging in size from a potato-sized melon to 18kg monsters. The national melon is the muskmelon.
Whether the knife falls on the mellon or the melon on the knife, the melon suffers.
Many wagon-loads of enormous water-melons were brought to market every day, and I was sure to see groups of men, women, and children seated on the pavement round the spot where they were sold, sucking in prodigious quantites of this water fruit. Their manner of devouring them is extremely unpleasant; the huge fruit is cut into half a dozen sections, of about a foot long, and then, dripping as it is with water, applied to the mouth, from either side of which pour copious streams of the fluid, while, ever and anon, a mouthful of the hard black seeds are shot out in all directions, to the great annoyance of all within reach. When I first tasted this fruit I thought it very vile stuff indeed, but before the end of the season we all learned to like it.
Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans, 1832