Published On: Thu, Jul 21st, 2016

Historical “Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Games” to start in Edirne, on July 22nd 2016

The 655th of “”Historical Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Games” is to start in Edirne Turkey, on July 22nd 2016. A team of 40 people which will be serving guests during the games travelled round the town in their traditional dresses with traditional meadow drums and flutes, playing Kırkpınar wrestling music and inviting citizens to watch the games.

The President of Kırkpınar Musicians Association said to reporters that the 655th of Historical Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Games which has always attracted much interest, would begin on July 22nd.

In 2010, UNESCO added Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival which has been hosted in the city of Edirne since 1361, to its Intangible Cultural Heritage List. In fact, the festival is the holder of the Guinness record as the longest running sports event in the world. Several legends are told about the festival and how it started.

In the past the Kırkpınar Agas (Kırkpınar Landlords) used to organize the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling. They entertained the guests and awarded the winners. Since 1946, the Kırkpınar Oil Wresting has been organized by the Municipality of Edirne.

The main differences that separate Kırkpınar Oil wrestling matches from Olympic wrestling are the duration of the match, tricks, and the rules of defeat. Oil wrestling matches are far too much longer. To be very unique to oil wrestling, the wrestlers cover their body with olive oil to make holding difficult, and they wear KISPETS which are very tight and leather short trousers each wrestler (pehlivan in Turkish) wears.

The routine of the games is as follows;

All participants line up along one side of the field and the Cazgır (announcer) introduces the Pehlivans to the audience by announcing their names, titles and skills with appropriate verses and prayers. Then the wrestlers fill the field and begin harmonious warming up movements called “peşrev” accompanied by davul (drum) and zurna (horn).

The first aim of the Pehlivan is to become the Başpehlivan (head wrestler or the champion) at Kırkpınar. The winning wrestler in the “Baş” (head) category receives Başpehlivan of the Year award.



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