The battle of the oranges: a brief history

The battle of the oranges: a brief history

In the Middle Ages beans were the protagonists of the battle. Legend has it twice a year the feudal lord gave a pot of legumes to the less wealthy families and these, out of contempt, threw them into the streets. The same beans were used in Carnival time, like joking bullets to throw at improvised rivals. The origin of today’s battle is, however, to be registered in the nineteenth century, when everything is born as a courtly, almost chivalrous, game. The young women of the city, indeed, took the habit of throwing confetti, lupins, flowers and oranges, an aristocratic exotic fruit (portugaj in Piedmontese dialect) coming from the Cote d’Azur, from the balconies of their homes. Targets were the young men from whom these same girls wanted to be noticed. From the carriages, they began to answer jokingly in tone and little by little, the gesture of homage turned into a duel. The carnival manifesto of 1854 already expresses the prohibition of throwing oranges or anything similar vehemently, but the ban did not find application and indeed the throwing turned with the passing of time in a real fight head to head between throwers of road and pitchers from the balconies. Only after World War II, with the birth of the first team of orange throwers (Asso di Picche), the battle takes on the current characteristics following very specific rules, inspired by the respect of the chivalric code. The first battle is dated 1947.

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