Thursday, April 5, 2012

Camel Wrestling

The other day I blogged about a Chinese tradition and snack treat known as "Virgin Boy Eggs". I got a lot of emails from people wanting to tell me their experiences with this food (one person actually sent me a recipe, gee, thanks). I also got to read several stories about some other "strange" customs around the world and I thought I'd share some of those with you from time to time. So, today let's take a walk down the (yellow brick) road of strange customs and learn about "Camel Wrestling".

Camel Wrestling is most common in the Aegean region of Turkey. There are over 1200 camel wrestlers bred specifically for these competitions. Camel wrestling rules may vary in different regions. Most of the time camel wrestling competition is held as fundraising events for Education, Health, Culture, Sports or Social welfare organizations.

Camels are considered the sharks of the deserts. They can perfectly adapt to their environment and their thick foot pads can resist the roasting sand of the Sahara. Their blood cells can endure impious dryness, and their scat (nice word for sh*t) is painstakingly drained of valuable water and used to stimulate fires.

Camel wrestlers in Turkey are considered the body builders of their species, and they are carefully fed to make them larger and more grandiose as they are marched through Turkish villages during the winter. They are often decorated with majestic finery, or are sometimes armored. Camels appear to take it all in stride and always seem to be smiling (probably because we humans amuse them).

Camel wrestling in Turkey is one of the most popular sports and is also known to other neighboring countries. We may ask why camels are used in this type of sports. Well, camels are natural wrestlers. The "humiliating technique" they use is close to the method used by human wrestlers.

Camel wrestling events include significant ceremony. Camel wrestlers are decorated in a manner set down by the tradition. They are walked through the streets with music played on drums and zurna on the day before the actual tournament. This event is very spectacular and I am told that everyone should see it at least once. Camel owners are dressed in checkered caps, customary scarves around their neck, jackets, special pants and boots in an accordion-like shape. On the night before the tournament, a Hali Gecesi or Rug Night is held and attended by camel owners and wrestling lovers. This night is a kind of celebration to meet new friends and old acquaintances that will help them strengthen the bonds of their friendship. At the festival they enjoy the food, drinks and sing their native songs, dance and sell rugs at an auction (except for the rug selling it sounds a bit like St Pat's Day).

There, now you know about Camel Wrestling. Happy Now? Good. Have a Nice Day.

Live Long and Prosper...

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