Sunday, August 24, 2008


These are some of the images I made from the New York Turkish Festival in Central Park (97th Street and Fifth Avenue) earlier today. The mission of the festival is to display the Turkish cultures with all its aspects, to inform and entertain the attendants and children, and serve as a scientific, artistic, and cultural resource. The festival had a broad content: displays, artworks, craftworks, books, music, Turkish food, children's playground, Turkish folk dances and Ottoman Band, Turkish shadow theater, parade, and evening concert. Throughout the event there were performances on the stage. Also pictured above are some of the oil wrestlers before the traditional Turkish tournament began. There is only one wrestling tournament in the world at which the contestants use tons of olive oil. It is held yearly in western Turkey, and its tradition reaches far back into history.
According to English thinker Bertrand Russel, the Roman Empire collapsed due to the infected mosquitoes that spread Malaria. In those times, living at sea level, to 400m above sea level was close to impossible. Even mosquito nets, burning animal feces, standing in smoke during sundown were not sufficient for complete protection from mosquitoes. The oil extracted from a vegetable particular to the Mediterranean region: "the olive," was used in cooking and for protection from mosquitoes. When humans learned to mix a specific ingredient "kafur" with olive oil for full protection from mosquitoes, the Roman Empire was long gone. The people of Anatolia who spent day by day applying olive oil on to their bodies, continued to wrestle with their bodies oiled, and a new style of wrestling surfaced from this condition: "oil wrestling."

1 comment:

mich said...

I regret of missing the oil wrestling. I left too early. :(

Cool post.