Panigiri (fest) of Pali at Chilia (yayla celebration)
© Eastern Macedonia - Thrace Region
| print preview
Every year, in the first week of August, thousands of people are gothered at the borderings of Rodopi?s and Evros prefecture in order to attend the three day panigiri (fest) of wrestling. Kiosks, peddlers, people setting up outdoor tavers, wandering daoultzides (musicians playing the davul) and zournatzides (musicians playing the zourna), the Thracian melodies and popular songs and dancing groups are the elements which construct the three day fest along with the professional and amateur wrestlers from Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria. This is the yayla fest, a panigiri with an old and sacred character that is mainly connected to the Muslims of mountainous Rodopi. The Aga was the only person who organized the fest. Since 1998 the organization of the fest passed to the Cultural club of Chilia that also gives the prizes. The participation of an indigenous wrestler in this fest was considered as an offering in the old times.
Crowds of locals and foreigners, peddlers, people setting up kiosks and outdoor taverns and wandering musicians are all gothered every year to enjoy the contests. This fest is very old and long ago it had an exclusively religious character. In the course of time it lost its religious character