Sep 2, 2008

The Battle of the Oranges

The "Battle of the Oranges" is held every February in the Italian twon of 'Ivrea'. It is a part of the traditional carnival of the region and thousands of local people, divided into nine combat teams, fights this odd battle with oranges.

On three carnival days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) of February, the "Battle of the Oranges" is played by electing one of the citizens as Mugnaia. There is a legend that a miller's daughter (a "Mugnaia") once refused to accept the "right" of the local duke to spend a night with each newly wed woman and chopped his head off. So, today the carriages represent the duke's guard and the orange throwers the revolutionaries.

Still, the origin of this tradition to throw oranges is not well understood, particularly as oranges do not grow in the foothills of the Italian Alps and must be imported from Sicily.

The "Battle of the Oranges" ends the night of "Fat Tuesday" with a silent march that closes the carnival and the "Prefect" says goodbye to everyone with the classical phrase "See you next Fat Tuesday at 1 pm."

Want to know more? Watch a Short Video:


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