Battle of the Oranges in Ivera, Italy
Each February, Ivera, Italy, has a full-on fruit fight known as the Battle of the Oranges. The origins of this festival are a little fuzzy, but that doesn’t stop thousands of townspeople from dividing themselves into nine teams and pelting each other with oranges – and they aren’t gentle about it.
One possible origin for the festival is the story of a medieval tyrant who attempted to rape a local young woman, a miller’s daughter. The woman decapitated the tyrant; then a mob of common people stormed the tyrant’s palace and burned it down. Today, a young girl is chosen to play the part of the miller’s daughter each year at the festival, and the oranges are said to represent weapons hurled by commoners against tyrannical leaders.
The traditional carnival days are Sunday, Monday, and then it ends on Shrove Tuesday (a Catholic religious holiday) with a closing funeral ceremony. There is a silent march to close the carnival and to bid everyone farewell until next year.