The core celebration is based on a locally famous Battle of the Oranges that involves some thousands of townspeople, divided into nine combat teams, who throw oranges at each other – with considerable violence – during the traditional carnival days: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The carnival takes place in February: it ends on the night of Shrove Tuesday with a solemn funeral. Traditionally, at the end of the silent march that closes the carnival the “General” says goodbye to everyone with the classical phrase in dialect”arvedse a giobia a ‘n bot”, translated as “we’ll see each other on Thursday at one”, referring to the Thursday the carnival will start the next year.
It’s a familiar story: commoners rise up against an oppressive ruler. At the Carnevale di Ivrea, however, the battle isn’t waged with guns and swords—oranges are the weapon of choice. Every year, the tiny northern city of Ivrea in the Turin province stockpiles 500,000 kilograms of fresh oranges for Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the Oranges),
a re-creation of a historic fight between townsfolk and a ruling tyrant. Teams wage a full-on fruit war, and not even a red-capped declaration of sovereignty can protect you from getting juiced.
Nowadays over 4000 throwers on foot belonging to nine teams (Picche, Morte, Tuchini, Scacchi, Arduini, Pantere, Diavoli, Mercenari and Credendari) take part in the battle, as well as over 50 horse-drawn carts (carts and pairs with 10 throwers aboard and carts and fours with 12 throwers aboard), making a total of about 5000 people involved.
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