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A Symbol of Italian Spirit and Victory, Today is the Celebration of The Battle of the Oranges

Italy's Food Fight! I find it very interesting to learn about celebrations in different countries! One day I hope to visit some of these countries and experience the celebrations! Battle of the Oranges in Italy is on my list! Though, I think I'd prefer to observe rather than participate! Ouch!

"The Battle of the Oranges is a world-famous food fight that takes place in the Northern Italian town of Ivrea, on the Sunday before the beginning of the Catholic Lent season. This year, it takes place from February 27 to March 1. The event, which occurs over three days beginning on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday, is held as a festive way to commemorate the history of the Ivrean people’s liberation from a tyrannical government. The holiday serves as a symbol of their spirit and their victory in attaining freedom.

The history of the Battle of the Oranges stems from a local legend that tells the story of a ruthless tyrant named Raneri de Biandrate, who ruled over Ivrea with an iron fist. Set in the Middle Ages, the story recalls the Ivrean people’s revolt against the tyrant de Biandrate in 1194 and the sacking of his castle in response to the abuse of power that he exuded over the town, especially following the attempted rape of a young village woman, who was thought to begin the town’s rebellion by beheading de Biandrate during her struggle. Another ruler, the Marquis Gugliemo of Monferrato, suffered the same fate a few decades later.

Over the years, the legend took on its own life as it was told to younger generations, with de Biandrate and the Marquis Gugliemo eventually summed up as a single tyrant. Thus, the carnival became a celebration of the Ivrean people’s liberation and attitude against tyranny as a whole. The destruction of the tyrants’ castles is symbolized through the Battle of the Oranges, played out by the residents, where the throwing of oranges takes place over three days during the Carnival of Ivrea. During the celebration, the town is split into two factions that represent the Ivrean people and the emperor’s forces.

The ones representing the people parade the town on foot, divided into nine teams, and hurl the zesty orbs to those playing the tyrant’s forces, who play out the festival (and throw oranges as well) from traveling wagons. The first official Carnival of Ivrea took place in 1808, following the Napoleonic government in Turin’s decision to unify all similar events into one festivity, becoming a celebration that honors the town’s history. However, it wouldn’t be until after World War II that the celebrations took on the entertaining format that is practiced today. All in all, the Battle of the Oranges is a spectacular affair that colors the sunny Northern Italian town orange as a celebration of their unity and pride." 

All Information borrowed from NationalToday.com


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