Video: Italian villagers indulge in orange fight
Published 20/02/2012 | 17:36
IN the northern Italian town of Ivrea locals celebrate the carnival season by pelting each other with oranges re-enacting a centuries old legend of tyranny and the fight for liberty.
Hundreds of people poured into the northern Italian city of Ivrea on Sunday to re-enact the Battle of the Oranges. Residents dressed up in medieval costumes and bombarded each other with juicy oranges from Sicily.
Legend has it that back in the 12th century the daughter of a miller rejected the advances of the town's evil lord. She cut off his head and set Ivrea free from his tyranny. The battle recalls the insurrection against the tyrant with participants split into noblemen and commoners with the oranges representing the oppressor's head.
In the 1930s local girls started to throw oranges along with confetti and flowers from their balconies onto the carnival parade carriages so that the boys would notice them. From the carriages the boys would throw items back. With time the gesture of homage became first a duel and then a real fight between the throwers on the balconies and those in the streets.
"Our carnival is a family tradition, it's the tradition of our parents, it's something that is close to our hearts. For Ivrea it's a historic moment," said town resident Angelo.
500 tons of oranges are shipped from Sicily to the Piedmont region every year in order to provide weapons to the jubilant revellers.