Read Kirkpinar Concepts Part 1

Sound and Rhythm in Kirkpinar: Drum and Horn

The drum and horn color the wrestling in Kirkpinar and they control the wrestling near the field referee.

Drum and Horn

The permission of the drum and horn is given to the specified groups via open bidding. Accompanied by the drums and horns, the wrestlers are being called to “Tutus” and both the wrestlers and the audience are cheered up by the wrestling songs. During the wrestling, drums and horns play without stopping.

The beat and the rhythm is an ever changing and endless movement which start with the heart beats from the beginning of the human life and people feel in various shapes and tones during their lifespan. As the flow of the life accelerates, the heartbeats also accelerate. As the flow of the life slows down, the heartbeats slow down. When we get excited, the first thing we feel that the heartbeats accelerate.



In every time of the lifespan, the beat and the rhythm which are the uniform of the small pieces of the beat make themselves to be felt. In sports, the beat flowing from spectator to the player and constantly changing, changes itself into the rhythms which can not be described. But, this excitement occurring in the world wrestling makes itself to be felt all the time and the wrestling with music is the custom of Kirkpinar greased wrestling.

During Kirkpinar Greased Wrestling, 20 drums and 20 horns continue without stopping and the drum is the instrument which, as if, would control the heartbeats of the wrestlers. The most remarkable feature of the wrestling music is that the drum has a steady rhythm while the melodies which are played by the horn are various. This shows that the songs of the wrestles are named according to the melodies used. The other supporting idea is that the wrestling rhythm is called “gures havasi” and “Ceng-i Harbi”, a melody played at the end of each wrestling, is kept different from the songs of the wrestles.

In the songs of the wrestling, the main element is the rhythm. The melody changes into a show as proportional to the freshness of the wrestling. In the songs of the wrestling there are two main measures: the song of the wrestling (12/4) and ceng-I harbi (24/8).

As Osman Bider, the oldest wrestling musician in Edirne and whose master was Osman Zurna, says, there are 3 types of the wrestling songs: Balkan, Dagli and Divan. The other wrestling musicians add a new melody named “muhacir” to these. “Dagli” and “muhacir” may be thought to be the songs which are related to the roots of the wrestling musicians and their family identities.

The Cengi-i Harbi way varies 10 and 12 timely apart from 16 timely. Cengi-i Harbi is played at the end of the wrestling songs. The other time when it is played is when the attacks of the wrestlers become dense.

Because the wrestling is slow at the beginning and one or more couple wrestlers wrestle at the same time, the audience can sometimes miss the other wrestling. The audience is attracted to a wrestle getting hot via music. The sudden change in the way and getting hot make the audience feel more excited. What makes this excitement is playing rapidly Ceng-i harbi. We can not think Turkish Greased Wrestling without horn and drum. In fact it is often witnessed that the wrestlers stop the wrestling when the music is stopped.

The Ultimate Aim of the Wrestlers: Gold Belt

The greatest reward of Kirkpinar greased wrestling is The Gold Belt which is the ultimate aim of the wrestlers.

The gold belt is 22 tuning gold and 1 kg 400 gr weighted. Because the delicate workmanship is required, the workmanship costs as the gold itself.

The beginning from Turkish Republic, the wrestling champion who has been champion 3 times one after another gets the “GOLD BELT” as a reward. Huseyin Alkaya from Tekirdag is the first winner of the Gold Belt in the period of Republic. The other champions with the Gold Belt are: Mustafa Buk from Ordu (1966-1968), Aydin Demir from Karamursel (1976-1978), Huseyin Colak from Denizli (1982-1984), Ahmet Tasci from Karamursel (1990-1992 and 1995-1997).

The Call to Kirkpinar: The Red Candle

The red candle is sent to the wrestlers and the guests invited by the agha before the wrestling contest. It is sine qua non of Kirkpinar.

The Red Candle

The people charged as the agha of Kirkpinar announces when the wrestling will be done and when the fair will open by sending the red candles to the villages, the towns, the cities from the beginning of March.

The red candles are hanged on the higher places of the traditional cafés in the villages and towns so that everyone knows they are invited to Kirkpinar. Before the custom of the red candle, the heralds called “Okuyucu” would send to every towns, villages and cities and those unlettered heralds would read the texts which they learned by heart to the people.

In this communication age, there is of course no need for the heralds’ announcing the invitation of agha by traveling between villages, towns and cities. But in order to make this custom survive, “red candle” custom should last and the agha should send these candles to his invitees.

The red candle is the common white candle which is painted red at the bottom of the candle.

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