Crimson Publishers Publish With Us Reprints e-Books Video articles

Full Text

Research & Investigations in Sports Medicine

‘Concepts and Rituals’ Kirkpinar Oily Wrestling Festival as Unesco Unsute Cultural Heritage

Sengul D*

Department of Sports Science, Trakya University, TURKEY

*Corresponding author: Sengul D,Sports Science Faculty, Trakya University, TURKEY

Submission: September 21, 2020;Published: September 21, 2020

DOI: 10.31031/RISM.2020.07.000657

ISSN 2578-0271
Volume7 Issue2


The purpose of this study; Kirkpinar, which has been listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, is to create international awareness by informing about the concepts and rituals of the oil wrestling festival. For this purpose, related resources have been scanned and examined. For this purpose, related resources have been scanned and examined. As a result, attracting the attention of young people around the world against the ‘Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival’, which has been listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.

Keywords: UNESCO; Culture; Sports; Wrestling; Ritüel; Edirne


If a sport contains traditional elements and national values, we can define it as traditional sports if it has been able to carry these elements from past to present. For this reason, it has its own unique cultural elements with its concepts such as oil wrestling, jazz, prayer, oil, salutation, pre-service, music, dome, agha institution, Kirkpinar tradition [1].

One of these is the “Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival”, which was recorded in 2010 on the representation list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The acceptance of oil wrestling as a unique cultural heritage value of the world and sharing it as a common heritage of humanity will contribute greatly to the promotion and promotion of this culture [2]. Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling is a cultural event with its elements, rituals and cultural identity. The week of wrestling, which is visited by many local and foreign people, is stated as ‘Kirkpinar Week’. While wrestling competitions are held in the last three days of this week, cultural events are held in the other time period (Küçükaltan et al, 2005). Wrestling is basically a physical and mental education that Turks do to prepare for war. This physical and mental education has been kept alive as a Turkish tradition until today. Kirkpinar wrestling has also been a part of this tradition. The most important cultural feature of Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling is that wrestlers show their strength and demonstrate their mastery. The name of this mastery is “Wrestling [3,4].

An Overview of Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Concepts

1) The name of kirkpinar oil wrestling: It is described as the gushing of forty springs from the place where the wrestlers named Ali and Selim from the forty brave commanded by Orhan Bey’s son Süleyman Pasha were martyred and buried. It is known as “Rumeli Wrestling” among the people. Kirkpinar is defined as a form of wrestling based on competition, which includes oil wrestling, religious, national rituals and Turkish customs, traditions, and examples of charity and hospitality [5-8].

2) Elements of kirkpinar oil wrestling: In Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling, Golden Belt, Kispet, Red Dip Candle, Zembil and reward concepts are included.

3) Golden belt: It was prepared for the first time by Edirne Municipality in 1969 as the biggest award of wrestling and was put into practice. There are moon and star motifs on the right and left of the reliefs of Kurtdereli Mehmet Pehlivan and Adali Halil Pehlivan in the middle of the Golden Belt. The ‘golden belt’ 22 ounces given to the athlete who won the three times in a row at Kirkpinar [9] (Figures 1-4).

Figure 1: Altın kemer

Figure 2: Kıspet.

Figure 3: Kırmızı dipli mum.

Figure 4: Zembil.

4) Kispet: Kispet comes from the Arabic word “kisve” and “kisvet”. Covering the part of the body from the waist down to the top of the calf, the button is a garment sewn from the skin, without a band, without buttonhole (Kahraman, 1989: 94). Consisting of traditional handicrafts, it consists of the parts of the short, hoop, hopper, back, groove, trotter, waterfall and mirror [10].

5) Red bottom candle: The invitation symbol of Kirkpinar is a red bottom candle. In times when mass media were not common, the red-bottomed candle was sent to the towns and villages, wrestlers and well-known people by March, and they were invited to Kirkpinar. The phrase “calling with a red bottom candle”, which is used frequently among the people, comes from here. It is one of the sine qua non of Kirkpinar. Today it is used as a symbol. City shopkeepers are also invited to Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling with a red bottom candle, accompanied by drum and zurna [11].

6) Zembil:

In the wrestling thermology, he says “the bag that is used to carry the wedge of the wrestlers from aquatic plants such as kandira or reeds”. It is a Persian word. Zembil is a bag-shaped traditional hand-made product made by hand on a special loom made of straw [12].

7) Awards: Prize money given by Edirne Municipality. The amount of the award is determined according to the competition categories.

Rituals of Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling

As a ritual word, it means “doing something, religious ceremony and rules”. Ritual is defined as all kinds of traditional and formal practices created by those who have a belief by putting symbolic meaning into an alliance [5,13-15].

1) Peşrev: One of the Most Important Ritual Among These Elements is “Peşrev Pulling”. Peşrev, in wrestling terminology, “Wrestlers are culture physics and warming movements for the purpose of caressing the audience and raising their spirituality just before starting wrestling [16]. Wrestlers (wrestlers) go three steps back, three steps forward, kneel on their right knees, touch their right hand to the ground, take them three times to the knee, their lips and head, and walk around the wrestling area, hug each other and hug and shake hands. When they meet again for the second time, they hold their opponents’ pulley with their left hands, and they touch their opponent’s right leg with their right hand and take their hands first to their lips and then to their heads. Then this movement is done in reverse. When the Wrestlers meet for the third time, they shake their arms left and right, holding each other on the back of their necks and on the right hands. When the wrestlers meet for the fourth time, they come face to face and roll each other’s backs. After this movement, the wrestlers who shake each other’s hands for a while, finally shake hands and wish each other success when they face each other, and their hands roll each other’s back and start wrestling at each other’s neck [17].

2) Oiling: The wrestlers gather around the oil boilers placed in the square (competition area) and lubricate each other. Oiling has a ritual. First, oil is applied to the left shoulder, chest, left arm and cuff. Afterwards, oil is applied to the right shoulder, chest, right arm and cuff with left hand. Then the wrestlers grease each other’s back. If he needs to be lubricated during wrestling, he will take the permission of the referee and his opponent and eliminate the need for oiling (Figures 5-7).

Figure 5: Oiling.

Figure 6: Oil boiler.

Figure 7: Peşrev.

3) Oil boiler: Oil boilers are placed next to the dressing rooms and all wrestlers, including competing wrestlers, are poured oil on each other’s back.

4) Prayer: As a living carrier of verbal cultural heritage, jazzlists provide a warm dialogue between people from different cultures with their literary poetic presentations called “prayer”. Prayer, which is one of the important rituals of Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling, is the lyrics of the words that Cazgir spoke in verse, before he released the wrestlers to wrestle. Jazzers continue this tradition from past to present.

5) Wrestling games: Elese, scythe, kund, violin wrapping, pile, yoke, cross, shackle, plunge ... etc. are just a few of the techniques applied to outperform your opponent in competitions [18]

Kirkpinar Marşi: Kirkpinar Anthem; The anthem, whose lyrics and music belongs to Beyazit Sans, was accepted as an official anthem in 2002. Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling is a factor that shows how creative it is in the intangible cultural heritage with its unique melodies and verbal acts. Kirkpinar oil wrestling; It is an important cultural heritage both with its relationship with Hidirellez cult and its religious rituals. Due to these features oil wrestling in Turkey’s attended for the first time in 2008. “Europeans distinguished Destinations Award-winning and 16 November 2010 at the UNESCO representative list of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage ‘has been included [19,20]. Kirkpinar greased wrestling, as well as its religious, social and moral dimensions, appears as a symbol of Turkish and Islamic culture with its sporty aspect and competition form. Since the past, Kirkpinar wrestling festival has a mission that represents the personality, social-cultural accumulation and selfworth of Turkish people. With this aspect, it has been an important part of world culture and civilization history. UNESCO’s historical Kirkpinar wrestling festival included in the list of cultural heritage to be protected. It is thought that the cultural industry, which will make the historical Kirkpinar festival universal, ensure the preservation of cultural values in the traditional way, and will develop in the city will contribute to ensuring sustainable development and reaching international audiences [21-29].


  1. Yıldıran İ (2000) Evaluatıon of the dıfferences of tradıtıonal oıl wrestlıng wıth cultural, structural and scıentıfıc perspectıve of modern mattress wrestlı Gazı Journal of Physıcal Educatıon and Sports Scıences 5(1): 53-62.
  2. Özdemır G, Çalışkan V (2018) A tradıtıonal sports geography: oıl wrestlıng ın turkey (Edırne Kırkpınar-And-Canakkale Wrestlıng Pavılıons). TÜCAUM 30: 3-6.
  3. Güven Ö (1999) Sports culture ın turks, Ataturk Cultural Center Presıdency Publıcatıons, Ankara, Turkey.
  4. Gökkaya ÖK (2014) In: Kıspet (Ed.), Fatıh Genel, Zeytın Publıshıng Group, Çanakkale, Turkey.
  5. Küçük MA, Sılık CE (2018) From hıdırellez cult to a relıgıous rıtual: “kırkpınar oıl wrestlı IntJCSS. 4: e-ISSN: 2458-9381I.
  6. Atabeyoğlu C (1985) Reforms of the republıc sports" reforms of the republıc of turkey encyclopedıa, C.6, Communıcatıon Publıcatıons, Istanbul, Turkey, p. 1474-1489.
  7. Erdem H (2009) From bırth to present, Kırkpınar Wrestlıng, Ceren Publıshıng, Edırne, Turkey.
  8. Dervışoğlu M (2012) Analysıs of kırkpınar wrestlıng ın folklore, Unpublıshed Master's Thesıs, Edırne, Turkey.
  9. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/1-ogeler/1-altin-kemer
  10. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/1-ogeler/3-kispet
  11. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/1-ogeler/5-kirmizi-dipli-mum
  12. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/1-ogeler/4-zembil
  13. Hançerlıoğlu O (2000) World belıefs dıctıonarÿ, Remzı Bookstore, Istanbul, Turkey.
  14. Bell C (2009) Rıtual theory, Rıtual Practıce, Oxford Unıversıty Press, Oxford, UK.
  15. Haunerland W (2013) “Rıtual”, islam-christian concepts dictionary, Ankara, Turkey, C.2, pp. 633-634
  16. Temızoğlu K (note) Ata sporu oıl wrestlıng and kırkpınar, Istanbul, Mehmet Tunagür Publıshıng House, (Publısh Date Not Specıfıed).
  17. Gül O, Gül M, Soygüden A (2019) Tradıtıonal oıl wrestlıng and "peshrev pullıng" rı
  18. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/2-ritueller/12-gures-oyunlari
  19. Baykara T (2001) Vıews on turkısh cultural hıstory, Atatürk Hıgher Instıtutıon Atatürk Culture Center Publıcatıon, Ankara, Turkey, p. 252.
  20. Tunca A (2016) Wrestlıng of edırnelı ıslander halıl pehlıvan and wrestlıng-oıl wrestlıng -kırpınar, Munıcıpalıty Publıcatıons, Edırne, Turkey, p: 21.
  21. Erdem H (2007) Hıstory of kırkpınar wrestlıng, II. Hıstorıcal Kırkpınar Symposıum Papers, Trakya Unıversıty Publıcatıon, Edırne, Turkey p. 74, ISBN: 978–975–374–074–6, P.145–149
  22. Boyacıoğlu E (2005) Socıo-economıc contrıbutıon of kırkpınar oıl wrestlıng to the edırne provınce, 1st Internatıonal Kırkpınar Symposıum, Edırne, Turkey.
  24. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/2-ritueller/11-pesrev
  25. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/2-ritueller/10-yaglanma
  26. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/2-ritueller/9-salavatlama-dualama
  27. http://www.edirnekirkpicom/tr/yazi/2-ritueller/14-kirkpinar-marsi
  28. www.Unesco.Org

© 2020 Sengul D. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.