Carnival of Ivrea Orange-Throwing Battle

Carnival of Ivrea Orange-Throwing Battle

Week before Lent
The highlight of the annual pre-Lent carnival—held every year for generations in Ivrea, Italy—is the massive orange-throwing battle that involves thousands of combatants in the town's streets and squares. The battle evokes, rather than re-enacts, past events in the town's long history—in this case, key insurrections that the townspeople launched against undesirable leaders. One of the most notorious of these was the medieval Count Raineri di Biandrate, a tyrant who tried to seize maidens' virginity before their weddings. Much of the carnival's activities are inspired by a legendary revolt by the townspeople in 1194 against the Count. They killed him and destroyed his castle, and liberty triumphed.
On the Sunday before Lent, the battle of the oranges is pitted between throwers on foot—who represent the townspeople—and others on decorated horse-drawn wagons, who represent the tyrant's officers. Anyone is welcome to take part. The fight rages all over town, often continuing through Mardi Gras, or the Tuesday before Lent. The streets become thick with orange peels and the air acrid with their scent. On Ash Wednesday, religious solemnity takes over, and peace is restored for another year.
CONTACTS:
Consortium for the Organisation of the Historic Carnival of Ivrea
Antico Palazzo della Credenza
Ivrea 10015 Italy
www.carnevalediivrea.it