This Italian Town Gets Juiced During Its Annual Battle Of The Oranges

Orange you glad you weren't there?!

Well, the folks in Ivrea, Italy, certainly won’t get scurvy!

In the annual Battle of the Oranges in this northern Italian town, people literally throw oranges at each other in a symbolic display of rebellion.

We’re not sure if the celebration, held in the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, is wildly painful or just a great juicy time for all, but the story behind it is sort of cool.

Apparently, the festival celebrates a medieval legend in which a miller’s daughter rejected the advances of the local tyrant on the eve of her wedding and cut off his head, inspiring her neighbors to rise up and free the town. Presumably, the actual rebels hurled rocks, not oranges.

People used to celebrate this event by throwing beans. At some point in the 19th century, women began tossing oranges from their balconies to men they liked. If the men felt the same, they’d throw the oranges back.

Today, the town divides up into nine squads for the festival. They dress in battle attire and spend three days (THREE!!) hurling oranges at each other.

It’s the largest food fight in Italy ― though not in Europe, because that award goes to Spain’s La Tomatina. More than 500,000 pounds of oranges are destroyed in what is likely the most Vitamin C-laden battle ever.

Catch all the wet, fruity madness below:

Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
A man is hit by flying fruit during the annual Battle of the Oranges in the northern Italian town of Ivrea on Feb. 26, 2017.
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The tradition of organized teams throwing oranges commemorates a local rebellion against a tyrannical lord who ruled the town in the Middle Ages. The teams parading on horse-drawn floats represent the tyrant's guards, while those on foot are the townsfolk.
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Team members wear costumes meant to evoke medieval times.
Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Oranges cover the ground during the battle.
Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
The helmet of one participant is hit by an orange.
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Team members congregate in a town square.
Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
A participant is hit with an orange mid-battle.
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Oranges fly between a team in a horse-drawn float and the townsfolk around them.
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Other teams go at it with citrus on Feb. 26 this year.
Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Team members cheer as they walk over the orange-strewn battlefield.

For more orange-y fun, take a look under the #BattleOfOranges hashtag.

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Before You Go

La Tomatina! Spanish Town's Saucy Tomato Fight

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