I love carnival season, it´s so much fun! This year me and boyfriend checked out Ivrea carnival of oranges. It is an old tradition where people throw each other with oranges. Peculiar as it sounds it is actually super fun. I don´t generally like playing with food, I don´t like wasting, so at first it sounded a bit strange to watch how people throw away tons of oranges, but the reality is that these oranges will never find a way to grocery store or food table, they would be thrown away anyway because of European regulations on exports, so why not make something fun out of them.
The locals are divided into nine combat teams who throw oranges at each other. They take it very serious and it is really like a real battle. It is not rare to see people with some bruises or eye injury (imagine orange juice in eye), but then again there isn´t really a reason to feel endangered, visitors can keep the distance while still feel like a part of the carnival. We of course wanted to throw some oranges as well and we managed but we also got hit with oranges.
Every year a Mugnaia is elected to represent a miller´s daughter that once refused to sleep with the duke, who had the “right” to spend a night with every newly wed woman. Brave girl cut his head off.
Rumors say that it is not cheap to become a Mugnaia and the honour to be one costs considerable amount of money. True or not, la mugnaia is an important part of the carnival. If you are lucky enough you can catch some candy or flowers that are thrown to the crowds.
It is not only violent food throwing, there is also a parade with pretty horses and traditional clothes.
We came out alive and very happy. It is definitely an event to take part in. Next year I would like to participate to another carnival. Maybe Venice?
Some tricks to survive Ivrea carnival of oranges:
1. It costs 8 euros and standing in a long queue to participate in carnival, so it is better to come early. You can try getting in through some side streets, but you did not hear that from me 😉
2. Wear a red hat. Unless you like to get hit. Red hat is a sign that you are just a visitor and people should not be violent with you.
3. It is not a place to wear your pretty clothes. Old and comfortable clothes and boots is a must. Believe me, it will get messy.
4. If you want to play, play it fair. Step inside of the battle field and take off your hat.
5. You should not throw oranges in distance, they hurt. Step closer when the carriages come, but then again not too close.
6. Choose a train instead of taking a car, that way you avoid problems with parking.