Everybody loves a good food fight. Or at least has dreamt about it ones. Well it appears there are some real spectacular food fight festivals around the world. We have gathered them here and they are sure to raise your appetite!
La Tomatina, Valencia’s tomato battle
Arguably the world’s most famous food fight is the annual tomato battle festival La Tomatina.
La Tomatina festival is held on the last Wednesday of August in the town of Buñol in the Valencia region in Spain . Tens of thousands of participants come from all over the world to fight in a harmless battle where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. The tomato fight (or La Tomatina) has been a strong tradition in Buñol since 1944 or 1945. It was created after two men, in political protest, began throwing tomatoes at many people and places, and continues to this day, though more for enjoyment than protest. The holiday was banned in the Spanish State period under Francisco Franco for having no religious significance, but returned in the 1970s after his demise. In 1957, demand for the popular festival led to its becoming official, with certain rules and restrictions. These rules have gone through many modifications over the years.
Approximately 30,000 people come to the tomato fight, multiplying by several times Buñol’s normal population of 9,000. At around 11 a .m., the first event of the Tomatina begins. A ham is placed upon a cockaigne pole (a large, greased pole), and the tomato fight can begin only when someone is able to climb to the top and bring it down.
Many trucks haul the bounty of tomatoes into the center of the town, Plaza del Pueblo. Once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself. Those who partake in this event are strongly encouraged to wear protective safety goggles and gloves. In addition, they must squish the tomatoes before throwing for safety precautions. Another rule is that no one is allowed to bring into this fight anything that may provoke someone into a more serious brawl, such as a glass bottle. It is highly frowned upon to tear someone else’s clothing. Somewhere between an hour and two hours, the fighting ends and the cannon is fired once more to signal the end. At this point no more tomatoes can be thrown. The cleaning process involves the use of fire trucks to spray down the streets, with water provided from a Roman aqueduct. People find water to wash themselves, most likely at the Buñol River
Ivrea’s Battle of the Oranges
The Battle of the Oranges is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups. It is the largest food fight in Italy
The festival’s origins are somewhat unclear but a popular account has it that it commemorates the city’s defiance against the city’s tyrant, the 12th-century Ranieri di Biandrate.
Every year the citizens remember their liberation with the Battle of the Oranges, where teams of aranceri (orange handlers) on foot throw oranges against aranceri riding in carts. The oranges represent old weapons and stones that are thrown towards the cart riders to represent the tyrant’s ranks.
Another adaptation of the story has the oranges used to symbolize the removed testicles of the tyrant. Peculiar to say the least.
The Battle of the Oranges’ involves some thousands of townspeople, divided into nine combat teams, who throw oranges at each other – with considerable violence – during the traditional carnival, which, based on the lunar calendar, usually takes place in February.
Grape throwing festival of Mallorca
The Grape Throwing Festival is held annually during the last weekend in September, in the wine-growing village of Binissalem, Mallorca. The festival also named festa des vermar celebrates the grape harvest and the main attractions include a grape-stomping competition, grape-throwing fight, and lots of fun!
Although the history of this event is somewhat lost through the ages, it seems to have its roots in ensuring a good harvest season by removing the “not so good” grapes before the winter. The event started as a harvest celebration when people had no idea what to do with the grapes that were not good enough to make wine from. Grape Throwing Festival is for sure a messy celebration, but can also be a lot of fun.
The festival lasts two entire weeks with almost daily fights as well as a grape-treading competition and certainly, lots of wine! Mallorca Grape Throwing Festival is the only Grape Throwing fight in the world, yet is seems to be less prominent than many other food fights.
Haro Wine War Food Fight
Another wine infused food fight festival is the Haro Wine Festival. It is a festival in the town of Haro in northern Spain. It is held every year in the summer and involves wine drinking competitions and contests and an epic Battle of Wine where wines are poured at each other from buckets. The celebration takes place on the day of the patron saint San Pedro. The day begins with a procession of people, dressed in white shirts and red scarves, all carrying jugs, bottles, vessels and other types of containers filled with red wine. Once the mass is completed, the free-for-all sessions begin, with everyone tossing wine on each other, drinking and making merry. Then at noon everyone returns to town to celebrate at the Plaza de la Paz. The festival generally happens on the 29th of June, every year.
The festival isn’t all about the wine war though. In the run up you can enjoy the epic parade. You’ll see dancing giants, huge heads, ornate carriages and spirited locals walking the streets in celebration. Indulge in the harvest by drinking endless Rioja and enjoying the regional cuisine.
Rioja’s Batalla del Vino
You’ll definitely want to wear some old clothes to this particular food fight. Logrono, the capital of Rioja, becomes a sea of purple during the week surrounding the feast day of Saint Matthew on September 21. The week of celebrations ends in the Batalla del Vino, where the plentiful Rioja wine is the ammunition. Festival goers and naughty wine wasters take aim and end up drenched in a sticky purple, drunk mess. Fill up your water pistols with delicious red wine and fire away…or drink away.
The Greek Flour War
March 10th is the first day of Orthodox Lent and it is the day of the annual flour war in Greece. For the past 200 years residents and tourists have bombard each other with bags of coloured flour. It’s an incredibly cool sight, all those dusty ghost-like figures moving about in the clouds. In a strange way, it looks attractively apocalyptic…
An estimated 3000lbs of flour is used, so that should give you a clue as to the mess it causes. Make sure you wear goggles and a face mask or you’ll regret it later.
Custard pie battle Championships & Food Fight
The custard pie food fight was dreamed up as a way of raising funds for the village hall some 49 years ago has gone from strength to strength, attracting teams from across the globe. The rules are simple. The teams of four are drawn against each other and score points depending on where their thrown pie hits a member of the opposing team. Every player must throw with their left hand. A full six points for a pie in the face. Three points from the shoulder up and one point for any other part of the body. A player who misses three times has points deducted.
The recipe for the pies is a closely guarded secret, but they are said to contain flour and water. Crowds of people arrive at the Coxheath recreation ground to see the teams go head-to-head. Last year a team who flew all the way over from Japan for the championships – triumphed and beat The Fairy Cakes in the final.
Kairuppala ‘s Annual Cow Dung Cake Battle
A whole different type of food fight is the annual cow dung cake battle in India’s Kairuppala.
Every year, the people of Kairuppala, a village in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, engage in an epic cow dung cake battle that often leaves dozens injured under the believe that the ‘smelly’ tradition brings them good health and prosperity.
Legend has it that Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, a fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva, and the Goddess Bhadrakhali fell in love and decided to marry. In order to tease his beloved, Veerabhadra Swamy declared that he did not want to marry anymore, which enraged Bhadrakhali and her clansmen, who decided to teach the deceitful groom a lesson by beating him with cow dung cakes. The other side retaliated, but the goofy battle ended in compromise and the much awaited celestial wedding. Today, the devotees of Kairuppala village celebrate their union by reenacting their mythical battle using the same unconventional weapons.
Mounds of dried cow dung cakes are heaped in the center of the village, and thousands of devotees split into two groups, the Veerabhadra Swamy side and the Bhadrakhali side. As participants arm themselves with cow dung cakes in one hand and towels in the other (for protection), thousands more villagers climb on nearby rooftops and in trees from where they can watch the battle without getting hit with a smelly projectile.
When the signal to start the battle is given, the two sides start flinging pieces of dried cow dung at each other, and keep at it for about a half an hour. As you can see in the videos below, they don’t hold back at all, and some combatants do end up with some minor injuries, which are treated with cow dung ash at a village temple.
In spite of it being quite a smelly affair it looks like heaps of fun….
Which food festival would you love to attend?!