In the small Italian town of Ivrea, they hold a rather interesting carnival.
Dating back to 150 years ago, thousands of people flock to the streets to throw oranges at each other. This may sound silly, but there is a historical reasoning behind the tradition. This event recreates “a centuries-old revolt by commoners against the monarchy.”
È già battaglia #storicocarnevale
This may sound odd, but people from the town say it is a part of their lifestyle. Francesca, a local resident, told AFP “It’s madness….really madness. Some may think these people are crazy, but for us in Ivrea, this is something we have in our DNA. Children are born with this madness.”
The #battleoforanges is well underway @Carnevale_Ivrea . #CarnevaleIvrea
The fruit-throwing event kicks off a three-day festival in honor of the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar. According to the event’s website, there has been some form of this event since 1858. The actual legend behind why oranges became the selected throwing device is a little unclear.
Historian’s best suggestions as to what the event stemmed from may be from a bride. In the 12th century the miller’s daughter challenged the evil baron who attempted to have relations with her previous to her walk down the aisle. The bride did not take to kindly to the baron’s wishes and, in turn, cut his head off. She then paraded the head all over the town, “sparking the uprising”.
Ivrea, Italy - Orange Throwing Battle https://t.co/ttkaUGVtE8
This is why one would see many people dressed in medieval attire while they are flinging the fruit. We cannot blame their metal wardrobe - having an orange thrown at your head cannot feel too good!
i #piemontesi sanno essere dei fantastici #terroni #Ivrea #BattagliaDelleArance https://t.co/ibNdmWZ5K6
There are also a variety of people who still go unmasked and bare the pain without any protection. If one is wearing a red hat, that signals that they are merely a spectator and do not want to be involved in the events.
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Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in the NYC area. When she is not talking to random animals or collecting stickers, she is a comedy writer working in television production. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp