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Are Food Fight Festivals Still a Thing? It Seems So!

Amidst the 'battle of the oranges' in the city of Ivrea in northern Italy. (Image:  Giò-S.p.o.t.s. via  flickr  /  CC BY 2.0)
Amidst the 'battle of the oranges' in the city of Ivrea in northern Italy. (Image: Giò-S.p.o.t.s. via flickr / CC BY 2.0)

In a modern global context, the idea of a big food fight — such as the “battle of the oranges” — comes across as somewhat odd and wasteful.

Going by some of the comments on social media, a lot of people think a big food fight is definitely a waste of food, especially given how many people go hungry in the world.

Within a historical context, others say that these events are easy to understand because they’re based on tradition. Others think they’re just good fun.

See some of the food fights below and decide yourself.

For good measure, we have added Thailand’s “Songkran Festival” — which celebrates the Thai New Year — to the list. It is pretty much where the whole country erupts into a big massive water fight for a couple of days.

‘Battle of the oranges,’ Ivrea, Italy

As part of the Carnival of Ivrea, the “battle of the oranges” takes place in the northern Italian city of Ivrea. Approximately 551 tons of oranges are used during this “battle” every year. As you can see by the video below, it is pretty hard core.

Watch this report from ODN about the “battle of the oranges,” and the history behind it:

Of course, no festival is complete without a parade, floats, and musical groups, which the Carnival of Ivrea does have. Dating back to the 19th century, it is one of the oldest festivals in Italy.

‘Clean Monday,’ Galaxidi, Greece

The end of carnival season in the Greek city of Galaxidi is celebrated on “Clean Monday,” where participants throw multicolored flour at each other. “Clean Monday” also coincides with the beginning of the Greek Orthodox Lent.

The origins of this tradition are unknown; however, the practice of throwing flour dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Locals and tourists who wish to participate generally wear old clothes, and sometimes goggles. Painting one’s face with charcoal is also common.

The city (125 miles west of Athens) does designate an area where the flour fight takes place. Still, that may not stop some participants from throwing flour at bystanders.

Watch a video by USA TODAY on “Clean Monday”:

‘Songkran Festival,’ Thailand

In Thailand, the local version of New Year’s Day is celebrated in April, and is called “Songkran Festival.” For three consecutive days, the entire country erupts with each city, town, and village engaging in water fights.

Traditionally, the gentle splash or spray of water was used to symbolize the washing away of sins and bad luck. One would ask permission first before spraying any water on an elder or stranger.

Today, it is common to see young Thais equipped with water guns spraying strangers, or pick-up trucks carrying passengers in the back with barrels of water, and throwing water at bystanders. Every street, no matter how wide or narrow, has participants waiting on the sidewalk prepared to splash, and to be splashed.

The water fights start from early morning, and go into the late evening. This happens for the three days of the celebration.

Watch this YouTube by My Mate Nate, on the 2015 “Songkran Festival”:

‘La Tomatina,’ Buñol, Spain

The “World’s Biggest Food Fight” title belongs to “La Tomatina,” which is a one day event where over-ripe tomato throwing goes for an hour. Considering the small size of this 9,000 populated town of Buñol, the festival attracted up to 50,000 people in 2012. Due to its popularity though, official ticketing was established to limit the number of participants to 20,000.

Learn more about “La Tomatina” in this report by Associated Press:

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