In a candid interview with a YouTuber, an Italian chef, also a jury member of a popular cooking TV game show, MasterChef Turkey, has revealed that he once participated in the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling, a traditional 650-year-old wrestling festival conducted annually in the northwestern province of Edirne.
“I put oil on my body and wrestled. But my opponent was tough; I felt like an onion,” 38-year-old Danilo Zanna said in an interview with a YouTuber, Ali Can Sabunsoy.
Oil wrestling is a Turkish national sport in which wrestlers wear leather pants (kıspet in Turkish) tied with a rope at the waist and cuffs, douse themselves in olive oil and compete on grass.
When asked what it was like for him to engage in oil wrestling, the chef said, “Wrestling is an ancestor sport.”
The reply by the Italian chef intrigued a sense of laughter where both the chef and the YouTuber couldn’t control themselves from having what can be said as a typical Turkish moment. The term “ancestor sport” is most commonly used by Turkish people while talking about wrestling.
Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling originated in the 14th century Rumeli, and it is one of the oldest wrestling festivals in the world.
The most important actors of the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling competitions are traditionally called the “Kırkpınar Ağası” (Kırkpınar Master), who is responsible for inviting wrestlers, organizing matches, covering financial needs of the festival and handing out awards; the “cazgır” (announcer), who introduces wrestlers to audiences and starts the match; the “yağcı,” who helps put oil on wrestlers; and the “peşkirci,” who holds towel for wrestlers.
Hurriyet Daily News