Traditional Turkish Sports Yagli Gures - 'Grease Wrestling' is the Turkish national sport and every year, in July, wrestling championships are held in Klrkplnar, outside Edirne. The contest is made more difficult by the fact that the wrestlers smear themselves with oil. Allah Allah illalah May we prosper Our patron is Hamza the wrestler Our ancestors were wrestlers Two valiant men take the field One blond one dark Both seek the prize Do not despair when down Do not boast when uppermost When above do not let go Meet leg trip with leg trip Send a prayer to Muhammed I hastened to the spring May God be with both of you For 630 years the celebrated Kırkpınar oil wrestling tournament has commenced with this chant. The master of the festival, known as the cazgir, recites a prayer for the wrestlers. Then the drums zurna (a wind instrument with a double reed) begin to play, hundreds of wrestlers bow in salute, and the first pairs lock in combat on the green meadow. There are several versions of the story about how the Kırkpınar wrestling tournament began, the best known relating how Sultan Murad I’s general Suleyman Pasa crossed the Dardanelles with a vanguard of forty warriors on two rafts, and commenced the march through Thrace. At every halt the men engaged in wrestling bouts as a way of forgetting the hardships of the journey. One day when they reached a meadow at Ahırköy near Edirne they began wrestling as usual. As the sun set only two wrestlers remained, neither able to inflict defeat on the other. They continued to wrestle into the night until finally both collapsed and died of exhaustion. They were buried where they fell, and the next day a spring of crystal clear water appeared on the spot. This meadow was there after known as Kırkpınar or the Forty Springs in memory of the first Turkish warriors to set foot on European soil. The historian Osman Nuri Peremeci writes in his History of Edirne that a Wrestlers Lodge was established in Edirne soon afterwards, and that here the local wrestlers held matches twice a week during the winter. But in summer, they wrestled outdoors in the flat meadows near the city. During the spring festival of Hıdırellez a three day tournament was held on the meadow of Kırkpınar, which is situated today near the village of Samona over the frontier in Greece. Famous wrestlers from all over the Ottoman lands would gather here for the event, and the Wrestlers Lodge would provide food and accommodation for the contestants. Today the Kırkpınar Grease Wrestling Tournament is still held annually at Sarayiçi in Edirne.