Orange Throwing Festivals
February is the Month for Throwing Oranges
A festival that includes throwing of oranges? Not just one, but three! I remember the Belgian festival below because my heritage is from there but in my research, I found that there are actually three festivals, all in February, in which oranges are thrown. One of these is an actual orange battle. I thought that this was more than a coincidence and very interesting.
Please read on and learn about all three festivals. One of these is in Ivrea, Italy; the second in Binche, Belgium; and the third is in Georgetown, Malaysia.
I hope you enjoy your travels through this website and please leave some comments below.
Thanks for the visit!
Thank you Squid Monsters!
Carnival of Ivrea Italy - The Battle of the Oranges
The most popular orange-throwing festival is the Carnival at Ivrea, Italy. This takes place 40 days before Lent and around the middle of February.
The history of this battle goes back to the Middle-Ages when beans were used instead of oranges. The fights occurred twice a year and were a result of the feudal lords giving a pot with beans to poor families. The lords threw the beans on the ground so it made the poor families angry and fighting by throwing of beans ensued.
Oranges were substituted for the beans in the middle of the 19th Century and battles are very traditional, with costumes, wagons, etc.
In the images below, it shows how the celebration is started with a parade and then the oranges start flying.
Four horse carriage taking part in the orange-battle
Parade of the horse-cars taking part in the orange battle
The Orange Tree - A Very Old English Ballad
Munitions For the Day of Fighting.
The Annoying Orange - I know some people like this!
Do Your Remember This Commercial?
The Annoying Orange in the Fruit Bowl
Carnaval de Binche, Belgium
The second orange throwing festival takes place in Binche, Belgium. The Carnaval de Binche takes place three days before Lent so it coincides with the festival at Ivrea, Italy.
This carnival, dates back to the 1300's and is very colorful with its different costumes.
The main participants in the event are the "Gilles" who are local men that are chosen by the townspeople. These "Gilles" start the day by eating oysters and champagne at 4am and then they march through the streets, wearing wax masks and costumes.
When they get to the Town Hall, they remove their masks and celebrate. Later in the day, they get in groups again and stamp the stone streets with their clogs, beat drums and then shake rattles together made of bundled sticks. This ritual is to drive off evil spirits.
In the middle of the afternoon, they then put on huge ostrich hat and then join a parade and throw oranges at the crowd.
Children also wear colorful costumes and families celebrate.
The parties continue well into the night with fireworks, bonfires and much rowdiness and intoxication.
The Annoying Orange in Best Friends Forever
Oranges in Hand!
Have You Ever Heard of Any of These Festivals?
Is this your first experience with an orange-throwing festival?
Georgetown, Malaysia - Chap Goh Meh and the Orange Throwing Festival
The third orange festival is in Georgetown, Malaysia and is called, "Goh Meh" and on the Chinese Lunar calendar, is celebrated on the 15th night of the first month. This occurs in late February to early March.
Orange-throwing is the highlight of this festival and the hurlers are the local girls, who throw the oranges into the sea in the hopes that a future mate might catch them. In some instances, the girls will write their phone number or wishes so they can be contacted. In most recent years, the girls are even writing their Facebook ID on them.
Women are the only ones throwing oranges in hopes that the men would like them and approach them about marriage.