Edirne has retained many of its colourful traditions and customs. Every summer the Kırkpınar oil wrestling contests are held at an emerald green meadow in Sarayiçi. The Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival is an annual tournament held in Edirne. Wrestling competitions last for seven days and are generally held at the end of June each year and feature local food, dances and music.
The Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival holds the Guinness Book of Records title for the longest consecutively held sporting event in the world. In 2010 the festival was also added to UNESCO’s tentative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The festival traces its roots back to 1360s when Ottoman Sultan Orhan (1326-1362), sought to keep his soldiers in top physical condition and battle ready. Today master wrestlers known as Pehlivan are trained in the art of wrestling and must display good moral character traits in order to be invited. The wrestlers are invited to the festival by the Kırkpınar Ağası (Kırkpınar Master) based on their personal qualities and skills. Admittance to the festival is taken seriously, invitations are made by the Kırkpınar Ağası in the same traditional way they have been for centuries past: by sending a candle with a red base to the nominated wrestlers at the beginning of March.
This festival is a highly recommended celebration of a truly unique tradition. From traditional oil wrestling, to traditional singing, dancing and feasting, Kırkpınar is a must-attend for any visitor!
Also listen in Edirne:
- Edirne State Classical Turkish Music Choir
- Edirne Roman Music Choir
- Voice of the waves in Saros Gulf
- Cazgır in Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival
- Music of Drum and Clarion in Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival
- Birds in Sarayiçi Tavuk Forest
- Voices of Music and Water in The Complex of Sultan Bayezid II Health Museum
- Kakava Festival and Fire
- International Edirne Band and Liver Festival
- Ezan in Selimiye Mosque