CLOSE

5 Adult-Friendly Food Fights Around the World

1. The Battle of Oranges

Photo from the 2007 Battle of Oranges by Flickr user Giò-S.p.o.t.s.

Each February at the Carnival of Ivrea in Italy, citizens commemorate the people's uprising against the tyrannical Raineri di Biandrate with an epic food fight.

As the story goes, Biandrate gave himself the right to sleep with any bride on her wedding night. One day, a beautiful young woman named Violetta issued a clear rejection by decapitating him with a dagger. Violetta became the hero of the commoners, a symbol of the numerous revolts against the monarchy.

Nowadays, participants are divided into two teams. One group parades through town in carriages to represent the emperor’s men. The other team, representing the common people, stays on foot and hurls food at the aristocracy. And of course, both groups sport era-appropriate costumes.

While this epic food fight originally featured beans, citizens of Ivrea switched to oranges in the 19th century. Makes sense. If you’re going to be in the midst of a messy food fight, better to be covered in Tropicana than bean soup. By the time the last fruit is thrown, the streets are covered in sugary, citrus-scented sap (minus the annoying peels). Orange you glad they didn’t use bananas?


Photo from the 2011 Battle of the Oranges by Flickr user Sebastiano Rossi. See the rest of his photo set here.

2. The World Custard Pie Championship

YouTube video of the 2008 World Custard Pie Championships by New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television

In Coxheath, Britain, finding a super-fun food fight is as easy as pie. In a competition inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick comedy, no one can turn down a heaping helping of pie-in-the-face.

Contestants work in teams of five, attempting to pummel pies at specific parts of opponents’ bodies. Points are awarded depending on what part of the body is hit, and striking an adversary in the face automatically earns competitors 6 points. Judges also reward originality: amusing styles of pie-throwing earn competitors up to 5 additional points.

The only downside? These scrumptious-looking pies are inedible. Instead of real custard, they are purportedly made from a secret recipe consisting of water and flour. But that still doesn’t stop people from all walks of life – businessmen, students, and nuns alike – from heading downtown to get their just desserts.

3. La Meringada

YouTube video of the 2011 La Merengada by Canal Blau TV

La Batalla de Carmelos/La Meringada is a two-pronged food fight in Vilanova, Spain that leaves everyone involved with a serious sugar rush.

The festival has its roots in the Franco era, when townspeople angrily protested the regime’s ban on carnivals by throwing sweets. Each year, after sitting down to a traditional Lenten meal of fish with red pepper sauce and salad, residents of the town spill out onto the streets to cream the competition, chucking the sweet stuff at everything that moves. Even you, Granny.

If that’s not enough, townspeople gather the Saturday before to attend La Batalla de Carmelos, a parade in which caramels are hurled into the crowd. Children and adults alike congregate to catch the sweets to kick off the week’s festivities. Now that’s what I call a sweet pregame.

4. The Great Fruitcake Toss

This YouTube video of the 2008 Fruitcake Toss by jgrotz includes the destruction of a computer at the 1:25 mark

Finally, brilliant minds in Manitou Springs, Colorado have developed a solution to an age-old conundrum: how do you get rid of a freaking fruitcake? The answer: chuck it as far as possible, and pray it’s never found.

Participants register by paying a small fee or donating a can of non-perishable food. While this nutty brawl primarily consists of a skirmish against the revolting food itself, participants also battle each other for prizes and the cachet of a cake-tossing title.

Competition is intense. Athletes face off in two weight classes (2-lb and 4-lb cakes) and numerous tossing divisions: the catapult, the giant slingshot, and the spud gun. Several local inns offer services to give participants a competitive edge—including extra-sturdy cakes and lessons to help refine their tossing technique.

The event also includes a “catch the cake” competition, as well as an accuracy task in which participants aim their fruitcakes at targets. Teams are also awarded prizes for showmanship: coolest costume, slogan, and cake-hurling device.

5. La Tomatina

YouTube video about La Tomatina by Journeyman Pictures

The mother of all food fights tastes curiously like SpaghettiOs. In Buñol, Spain, thousands of citizens gather each year to participate in the world’s most epic food fight. In this massive tomato-throwing frenzy, there are no teams. Rather, it’s every man for himself in a V8 bloodbath.

The tradition began in 1945 when a group of teenagers watching the festival of gigantes and cabezudos (puppets with enormous heads) attempted to join the parade, causing angry audience members to pelt them and each other with tomatoes from a nearby produce stand.

To prevent the food fight from degenerating into an unmediated melee, la Tomatina is governed by a strict set of rules established by the city council.

  1. The tomatoes must be squashed before throwing to avoid injuries.
  2. No other projectiles except tomatoes are allowed.
  3. Participants have to move out of the way for trucks and lorries.
  4. No ripping off the t-shirts of other contestants.
  5. After the final shot goes off, no more throwing tomatoes.

La Tomatina has spawned copycats across the globe, inspiring similar tomato brawls in Columbia and Reno, Nevada. But if they’re looking to host the largest food fight on Earth, the rest of a world needs to do a lot of tomato squashing to ketchup. (Yeah, we went there.)


Photo from La Tomatina 2006 by Flickr user davidd (puuikibeach). See the rest of his set here.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
iStock
iStock

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
iStock
iStock

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios