PÓVOA DE VARZIM, Portugal – Here they are! The special tiles of the sets that will be used during the Open European Mahjong Championship 2017 in Portugal. Rui Machado, organizer of the competition and designer of the tiles, has chosen for two themes that are of great importance for the Póvoa region: fish and fruit.
The OEMC is held every three years. Mahjong lovers, esp. lovers of the Mahjong Competition Rules, are looking forward to this event. They train to score well in the qualification tournaments, they save money for the trip and they try to keep their agendas empty for the days that the Big Competition will take place.
It is not only the thrilling sessions they will have to play and the encounters with mahjong players from all over the Continent that make the OEMC so special. The mahjong players also wonder: what will the special tiles look like this time?
For each OEMC, special mahjong sets are made with special tiles which replace the flowers and season tiles in the sets, and sometimes also other tiles, like the Bird (Bamboo 1) or the Dot 1 tile.
The Rooster – it is also depicted on the official OEMC 2017-poster – is the national symbol of Portugal. The Rooster appears in a legend, linked to a pilgrim in the Saint James ‘Camiño’. In the OEMC 2017 set, it replaces the usual Bird on the Bamboo 1 tile.
Usually, the special sets are not only used during the tournament, but they also can be acquired for a friendly price once the competition is over. Only the sets that were used in the OEMC 2014 in France could not be bought, as a result of problems with the customs, that would only let pass the sets if they would not be sold, but only be used in the tournament.
The Flower tiles in the OEMC 2017 set depict local fruits which are harvested in the appropriate seasons: cherry, pear, raison and chestnut.
You will recognize the tiles from the Portuguese statues below.
|The picture of Saint Peter is inspired on a statue of this biblical fisherman, who was Jesus’s favorite disciple and, according to many believers, the first Pope.||In the region of Póvoa de Varzim, fishing is a major activity. So, fish also return in the picture of this statue of a woman selling fish. In the Póvoa region, the fishermen received a part of their salary in fish. This ‘Quinhão’ was sold by their wives in the streets.||Statue of Cego de Maio, a fisherman and also a hero who helped lots of other fishermen.||Modern monument of a fisherman in Póvoa de Varzim.|
The Portuguese sets will even contain two series of special tiles: the original flowers that came with the sets, plus the tiles which were especially engraved for the OEMC in China.
The other day, the boxes with the OEMC-sets were shipped in China. Rui Machado expects them to arrive in Portugal on April 15th.