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Food fight: Italian fruit fight a big juicy battle in Italian town

AFP, February 27, 2017 5:45PM Herald Sun

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Thousands of people poured onto the cobblestone* streets of a northern Italian town Sunday to throw oranges at a makeshift* monarchy*, a tradition dating back more than 150 years.

The juicy battle in Ivrea is part of the town’s yearly carnival, which recreates a centuries-old revolt by commoners* against the rich royals.

The three-day carnival kicked off Sunday and ends the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar.

People throw oranges at each other during the traditional battle of the oranges as part of the carnival in Ivrea, near Turin on Sunday. Picture: AFP media_cameraPeople throw oranges at each other during the traditional battle of the oranges as part of the carnival in Ivrea, near Turin on Sunday. Picture: AFP

“It’s madness … really madness,” local resident Francesca said. “Some may think these people are crazy, but for us in Ivrea, this is something we have in our DNA. Children are born with this madness.”

The tradition has its roots in the 1100s, which is more than 900 years ago, so the details are difficult to know for sure, but the orange fight has existed in one form or another since 1858.

As the most commonly told story would have it, a 12th century miller’s daughter fought back against an evil baron who treated the poor people of the town badly. She cut off the baron’s head and paraded it all over town, sparking the uprising*.

People playing the part of royalty and others of poor people throw oranges at each other during the traditional battle of the oranges in Ivrea, Italy on Sunday. Picture: AFP media_cameraPeople playing the part of royalty and others of poor people throw oranges at each other during the traditional battle of the oranges in Ivrea, Italy on Sunday. Picture: AFP

Huge crowds flock to the event annually, which is recreated with townspeople in medieval* attire* battling teams of the tyrant’s* guards in period dress, complete with protective helmets and masks.

The townspeople, on foot and without any protection, throw oranges at the guards, who fight back from carts drawn by masked horses.

Crates of oranges are tightly stacked one over the other on the footpaths and some spectators take refuge to avoid being hit by wayward pulp.

Wearing a red floppy hat marks you as a spectator and safe from flying fruit. “It is a historical reconstruction of a real fact which happened several hundreds years ago with the revolt* against a king,” said Roberto, who participated in the battle. “In the last century, the battle is waged with oranges but before (that) we were throwing stones, if you can imagine that.”

GLOSSARY

cobblestone: stone blocks used to pave roads

makeshift: quickly and roughly made

monarchy: royalty

commoners: poor people

uprising: people coming together for a cause

medieval: from the 5th to the 15th century

attire: what you wear

tyrant: someone who rules with fear

revolt: fight back

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1 . Strange Traditions

After reading the Kids News article about the carnival in Ivrea, Italy, answer the following questions in as much detail as possible. Focus on rewording the question within your answer.

— How often does the carnival occur?

— Where does it take place?

— When did this tradition begin?

— How did this carnival come to be what it is today?

— What do you wear to protect yourself from being hit?

— Why do you think they use oranges?

— Do you or your family participate in some festive traditions or attend a carnival or festival each year?

Extension: “It’s madness … really madness,” says a local resident in Ivrea. Explain in a detailed paragraph why they still participate in the festival even though they know it’s a bit of a crazy tradition.

Time: Allow 30 minutes to complete this task.

Curriculum links: English

Activity 2 . A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

Look at the photos accompanying this Kids News story. Your teacher might print them for you if they can. For each picture draw two speech bubbles and write what the person/people in the picture may be thinking, feeling or saying. Compare your speech bubbles to your classmates.

Extension: Choose one of the people in the pictures and draw a blank head beside them. In the blank head, write all the things you think this person may be feeling, who they

are, what they are doing there and what they could be saying.

Time: Allow 30 minutes to complete this task.

Curriculum links: English, Critical & Creative Thinking

EXTRA RESOURCES

MOOMBA 2017 MONARCHS CROWNED

LOST CIVILISATION WAS RULED BY WOMEN

HOW MELBOURNE STREETS GOT THEIR NAMES

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