Camel Wrestling Festival

2012-05-29

In the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions, in which summers are already beautiful, there is a different excitement during the winter months. Camels are wrestled in a city every weekend. In the West Aegean, southern Marmara and the coastal Mediterranean, there is no city and district without a camel wrestling festival. The Camel Wrestling which is particularly common in the Aegean Region, southern parts of Marmara Region, western parts of the Mediterranean region, is a sport, a folklore, culture and tourism event unique to Turkey.

This event, which continues as an old tradition, today attracts public widely. Camel wrestling festival in Turkey is one of the most important events that put together folk culture of various regions. Camel wrestling is organized with the facilities of small towns in Turkey. It is known that Camel wrestling traditionally carried out in Turkey was held for the first time two centuries ago (19th century) in the village of Hıdırbeyli in Aydın’s Incirliova township and in and around Tire township located at a distance of about 80 km in southeast of Izmir. Caravans going in the direction of Izmir in the 19th century, put up in the current Incirliova formerly known as Karapınar. The young camels (Dorum) played with each other during this encampment.

When the owners of camels, whose caravans had no cargo, saw that the camels while wrestling with each other, took interest in the movements of camels and turned the wrestling into tradition. The camel wrestling that was held at first between parties through the claims in small scale, has become a social entertainment by gradually expanding. The cameleers were gathered two days before in cafes or restaurants where the wrestling would be held, talked about the ambitious and exciting wrestling in past years. Especially in days of market in the city, camels make a kind of passage ceremony in order.

Each wrestler camel has a name. These names are usually put by the owners. Some of them are named by the audience because of their manner or wrestling games in wrestling area. Each wrestler camel’s town or village, as well as name, is printed on a fancy cloth put on the back of havut (camel Saddle). When looking at the back of the camel, it can be easily read the name of it and where the camel is from. Beneath these writings, “Magnificent” lettering is also available. During wrestling, the cameleers wear old swashbuckler and zeibek clothes or in a style similar to these dresses.

Very beautiful and majestic ones of the owners are seen because of their wealth. Also wrestling camels are dressed with clothes that have the characteristics of its region and rich cultural values. These are typical handicraft art products. They are very important in terms of Turkish handicrafts. There are also categories in the camel wrestling such as wrestling. Animal lovers do not need to worry. There is no blood, violence or torture against the animal in these wrestling. Camels are emotional animals. It is seen that the loser camels cry. At least 20 people hold the camels with strings. There are also cages in their mouths not to bite each other. There is an announcer in the middle. He announces the camels and starts the wrestling. Camels try to topple each other, putting their necks.

Animals are not allowed to hurt each other. In such cases, camels are immediately pulled with ropes. In wrestling, the essential key is the move but in a camel wrestling is the chasing of a camel the other camel. This is the most dangerous part of wrestling. Of course, for the audience not the camels because camels escaped crush what comes through the front. It has been fatal accidents.

Therefore, the audience should watch the wrestling from high places. In camel wrestling festivals unlike the other major ones, people are not only the audience. They organize the wrestling themselves, play themselves, have fun themselves. In this festival, the public shows their art, culture and feature. Camel wrestling is a cultural exchange center and in real terms a true folk festival in the Aegean region. Do not make fun of a wrestling camel, they’re revengeful animals. It attacks you in the smallest opportunity.

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