PHOTO: Oranges fly in this Italian town. (Photo via Flickr/ Gio-S.p.o.t.s.)
Sometimes the world resembles one large food-fight venue.
The dream of adult kids everywhere plays out annually in Spain with La Tomatina, which takes place in August. Rather than toss a bunch of tomatoes at one another, the people in Ivrea, Italy have a tradition of their own. It involves oranges, tons of them, and it coincides with a particularly holy moment on the Christian calendar.
AFP reports on the festivities that start with a Sunday jubilee featuring revelers tossing countless oranges around the area in a tradition that dates back 150 years.
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The website explains: “It is the Battle of the Oranges that (evokes) the civil war that broke out between the people of Ivrea and the Royal Napoleonic Troops the day after the murder of hated tyrant Raineri di Biandrate (it was the Mugnaia who slayed him!).”
AFP explains further, stating the impetus behind the tradition—something that has its earliest incarnations back to 1858—is the story of a 12th-century miller's daughter beheading a lord who wanted to exercise jus primae noctis, the ancient practice as “medieval lords having the supposed right to have sexual relations with subordinate women.”
This part of the festival represents an uprising against medieval lords and barons who ruled as tyrants in the area.
A local referred to as Roberto tells AFP his version of the story: “It is a historical reconstruction of a real fact which happened several hundred years ago with the revolt against a king.”
Roberto continues, “In the last century, the battle is waged with oranges, but before we were throwing stones, if you can imagine that.”
Even though the Carnival of Ivrea has ended, you are free to pelt loved ones in your home with whatever fruit you like all year round.