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Camel Wrestling Festival - An Ancient Festival

Updated on December 20, 2015

Camel Wrestling Festival

Camel wrestling is an ancient traditional festival in the Aegean Region of Turkey. Today, camel wrestling is popular mostly in Aydin. It is also seen in the cities of İzmir, Manisa, Muğla and Denizli.

In Selcuk Camel Wrestling Festival is organised every year in January. In this hub I wrote about the festival, added youtube videos so the readers can see a camel wrestling.

These camels are bred with a great deal of care and are trained for wrestling. The contests are held in the winter months of December, January, February and March when the tülüs are in heat.

Every wrestling camel has a name. Sometimes the camel’s owner gives it a name, and sometimes the spectators find a name for the camel inspired by how it behaves during wrestling matches. Some camels are named after popular characters from TV shows, such as American detective Columbo..

Camel Wrestling

Burak H. Sansal over at writes: While the Spanish have bullfights, and the Italians cockfights, and the English go hunting with hounds, the Turks have camel wrestling.

Camel Wrestling festival In Selcuk - In January Each Year

Great Stuff on Amazon about Camels

Camel fights for the female

Each year in January Camel Wrestling Championship is held in an historical Aegean Town, Selcuk which is near to Ephesus Ancient City.

The event puts together two bull (male) camels with a female camel on heat nearby. The camels fight it out for the female, leaning on each other to push the other one down.

There are an estimated 1200 camel wrestlers (or Tulu) in Turkey, bred specially for the competitions.

A camel can win a wrestling when:

By making the other camel retreat, scream, or fall.

The owner of a camel may also throw a rope into the field to declare a forfeit if he is concerned for the safety of his animal.

Camels wrestle with others in their same weight class. Camels have different tricks, and contest organizers match camels with different skills. Some camels wrestle from the right and some from the left;some apply tricks.

A camel wrestling event involves considerable pomp and ceremony. The camels are decorated, and participate in a march through town followed by musicians on the day before the event. The actual wrestling can be somewhat underwhelming to someone not familiar with the intricacies, although onlookers must often flee from an oncoming camel that is retreating in defeat from his opponent.

In the heat of the tournament, camels spew foamy saliva in their excitement. Additionally, camels are retromingent animals, and so spectators would be advised to beware not only of flying saliva but of flying urine as well.

Popularity of the sport is declining, as the relative costs of caring for such an animal rises, as well as concern for the animals' welfare.

The festival begins with the "Kervan Molasi" event during which camels will walk and viewers will be offered traditional foods. .

On the second day of the festival, a competition will be organized and the best-decorated camel will be selected. The winning camel will win a "Golden Mortar."

32 Selcuk Camel Wrestling Festival

Traditional Festivasl

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Traditional Festivals

Did you hear about Camel Wrestling?

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    • bibliopola profile image

      Işın Tuzcular 4 years ago from Istanbul

      @Carpenter76: Thanks:))

    • Carpenter76 profile image

      Carpenter76 4 years ago

      I never heard of Camel Wrestling, it sounded more fun then it is I guess. But great job sharing this ancient tradition with the world :)

    • bibliopola profile image

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @junecampbell: Thanks. Camels sometimes get hurt but the owners look after them pretty well.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I have never heard of this before. I hope the animals are not put at risk. Interesting and well done lens.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      I had never heard of camel wrestling. Very interesting.

    • bibliopola profile image

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @BlueTrane: Yes, camel wrestling is a very ancient tradition, in this era it seems bizarre to us.

    • BlueTrane profile image

      BlueTrane 5 years ago

      bizarre! Never heard of this before...thanks for the information