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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  • meFriday, March 28, 2014 at 9:04 am
    Why oranges? well at least people have fun. AWESOME!
    • alyth higginsFriday, March 28, 2014 at 6:44 am
      The orange battle started in early March. The teams pelt each other with rotten oranges.The battle lasts three whole days and the teams can choose which of the three days to battle. The worst injury that people can suffer is a black eye. The people use 500,000 kilograms of rotten oranges. at the end of the battle they gather at a central location to pay their respects to the dead and the bruised.
      • Amya Friday, March 28, 2014 at 5:28 am
        i think it is a good article i think that it was neat how they had to wear red hats and stuff like that so that's what i really enjoyed and how they put all of this information in one little article thank you dogo news
        • yoelFriday, March 28, 2014 at 5:27 am
          I think that this article was a great way to learn more about what festivals are celebrated in Italy. i also liked the way that we did a tableuo.
          • 2014Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm
            its so sad that that guy got hit in the eye
            • anaileThursday, March 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm
              its not a wast of oranges it says in the article that they are rotten
              • tatea17
                tatea17Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm
                member of orange battle teams throw orange at each other during the traditional battle of the oranges held during the carnival in ivrea ,near turin
                • mcalia
                  mcaliaWednesday, March 26, 2014 at 8:02 am
                  It looks like a huge waste of oranges.
                  • jessie66724
                    jessie66724Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm
                    Why do they throw food?????????
                    • lolz catTuesday, March 25, 2014 at 5:05 am

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