Video of the Week - Italians Battle It Out With Oranges

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Europe's obsession with food-throwing festivals is well known. There is of course the famous La Tomatina in Spain where contenders pelt each other with tomatoes and now Italy's Battaglia delle Arance where rotten oranges are the ammunition of choice.

Celebrated annually in early March in the small Italian town of Ivrea, the origins of the unusual battle are a little hazy. Some believe that it is a reenactment of a 12th century battle that began when a tyrant leader was ousted and decapitated by a local resident. In order to protect her, the townspeople used stones, slingshots and other weapons to drive the soldiers away. Others think it stems from a 19th century uprising in which commoners threw away food to protest the rule of a feudal lord.

No matter what the origin, the three-day long Battaglia delle Arance is a highly anticipated event today. Preparations begin about a week prior to the festival when 500,000 kilograms of rotten oranges are shipped in from Sicily. On the eve of the event, participants are divided into various 'army' units including one that comprises of armor-wearing guards to represent the soldiers.

The soldiers get to toss the fruit off horse drawn carriages, while the commoners pelt it from the ground. In order to ensure that everyone gets a chance, each set of teams is allowed to 'battle' only one of the three days. And while it may appear dangerous, officials maintain that the biggest injury a participant has ever suffered, is a black eye.

A team of impartial judges pick the winner of the battle based on their orange throwing skills, the distinctness of their uniforms and most importantly, how successful they are in avoiding the poor horses that get caught in the sticky battle.

Those that are not up for the battle are advised to sit on the sidelines wearing red hats so they don't get pelted by mistake. While this could get a little boring for some, it works for those that have no desire to turn into orange pulp or the need to receive their vitamin C boost in such large doses! After the battle is over, all participants and spectators gather at a central location to pay their respects to the 'dead' and 'bruised'.


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Reading Comprehension (3 questions)

  1. How did the festival begin?
  2. About how many oranges are used in this festival?
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  • awesomeMonday, March 17, 2014 at 8:04 pm
    i was at itay
    • bubbywubbys
      bubbywubbysMonday, March 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm
      I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the current events you put on here! Musical ice-cream, cats are good at predicting weather, now this? i just love this website so much, i am probably going to use it forever!
      • edmodo-qpnzr5dxuh
        edmodo-qpnzr5dxuhTuesday, March 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm
        i read all of those articles!
      • DuckMonday, March 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm
        So awesome and sounds cool
        • kays
          kaysMonday, March 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm
          • pizza steveMonday, March 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm
            lol sooo cool
            • katiecool
              katiecoolMonday, March 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm
              First comment? This is soooooo awesome!
              • otter
                otterMonday, March 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm
                • gap430
                  gap430Monday, March 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm
                  why oranges?
                  • lionsrcute1
                    lionsrcute1Monday, March 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm
                    • redheadperson22
                      redheadperson22Monday, March 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm
                      that's really interesting

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