Battle of the Oranges
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The Ivrea Festival takes place annually in the town of Ivrea, Italy.
 
The festival lasts 6 days, always starting at one o'clock on the Thursday before Shrove Tuesday.
 
The highlight of the festival is the 'Battle of the Oranges'; an old tradition where the local people of Ivrea seperate into 9 teams and have a massive food fight using nothing but oranges.
 
This tradition is thought to have come from a fable about one of the Ranieri family. It is alleged that the city was once ruled by a cruel tyrant (one of the family), who would exercise the 'droit du seigneur', meaning he was entitled to sleep with every woman in the town on the eve of their wedding day.
 
He allegedly attempted to force himself on a miller's daughter in this manner but was met with hostility as she decapitated him. This led to the townsfolk burning down the family's palace. Each year a young girl is chosen to play the part of the defiant young woman.
 
Artificial chariots full of armour clad men charge through the fruit battleground representing the Ranieri family. These are pummelled with oranges by everyone involved.
 
The festival traditionally ends with a funeral and a silent march, after which the 'General' who orchestrated the battle announces: "arvedse a giobia a ‘n bot" which translates as: "we'll see each other on Thursday at one" - referring to the next year's festival.
 
More information is available from the festival's website at:
www.storicocarnevaleivrea.it
Photographs courtesy of: Archive of the Historical Carnival of Ivrea Foundation
Singing Sticks Festival
This didgeridoo based music festival takes place in Northampton, England every July.
 
It is billed as a 'family friendly world music weekend', and boasts many genres of performers.

Each act MUST involve a didgeridoo however, giving birth to such fusions as 'didge and guitar', 'didge and hand pan' and even 'didge and beatbox'.
 
Tickets can be purchased online from:
Kensal Green Cemetry Open Day
Kensall Green cemetry is located in London, England.
 
During July every year the cemetry plays host to a gothic fayre, right in the centre of the graveyard.
 
The open day was origionally intended to open the cemetry to visitors to talk about its history.

Gothic culture was drawn to the day and now as well as these tours, at the very centre of the graveyard, there are market stalls set up by gothic retailers; selling everything from jam to knee high boots.  Hearse enthusiasts also gather at the fayre to show off their classic, refurbished and sometimes 'pimped up' hearses.
 
The date for the open day each year can be found at:
 
San Fermin
San Fermin takes place in New Orleans, USA. The festival is New Orleans' answer to the running of the bulls  festival. which takes place in Pamplona, Spain.
 
The festivals takes place at the same time, although this American alternative offers a safer, more ridiculous alternative. The bulls are replaced with roller-derby athletes from local teams.
 
The athletes are dressed in their usual roller-derby gear along with bull horns and given baseball bats to chase participants with through the streets.
 
Festival information is availble at:
Nalukataq
The Nalukataq festival occurrs every June in the US city of Barrow, Alaska.
 
The festival celebrates the end of the whaling season for the Inupiat Eskimos of Northern Alaska.
 
Due to the city's position within the arctic circle, the festival enjoys 24 hour daylight, and requires no artificial lighting whatsoever.
 
Members of the community enjoy the distribution of whale meat and blubber before dancing, storytelling and feasting is enjoyed by all.
 
Among the celebrations is the tradition of blanket tossing, where the community spread themselves around a huge blanket, which they use to throw the whaling crews high into the air.
 
Dates and information on how to attend this event can be found at:
Ottery Tar Barrels
The  Ottery Tar Barrels Carnival occurs annually on the 5th November in the town of Ottery St Mary, England.
 
Over the course of the day 18 barrels are carried around the town from various public houses on the shoulders of members of the local community.  The barrels get larger throughout the day and are set on fire.
 
The biggest barrel is set alight in the town centre at the climax of the festival and is lifted with seemingly super human strength. 
 
This unusual tradition is thought to have originated from the practise of barrel rolling.
 
Aside from the barrel carrying, the carnival features a huge bonfire and a 'torchlight procession'.
 
The official site of the festival can be found at:
Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme
The Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme also known as 'The Festival of Near Death Experiences' occurs annually on the 29th July in the town of Las Nieves, Spain.
 
The festival started as a way for the local people to celebrate overcoming a near death experience, although it has grown over the years and now draws reasonably large crowds and participants from further afield.
 
The people lucky enough to have survived a near death experience within the 12 months prior to the festival, are carried through the town to the church of Santa Marta inside their very own coffins. The loved ones carrying the coffins are all dressed in funeral attire and chant hauntingly as they proceed to the church.
 
A mass is carried out inside the church to pay respects to Santa Marta, (the Saint brought back from the dead by Jesus) and then celebrations ensue. Storytelling, fireworks and gypsy dance bands fill the streets for the rest of the day.
 
More information about the festival is available at:
Hadaka Matsuri
A Hadaka Matsuri is a type of naked festival that occurs in Japan.  It originates from Saidaiji Temple in Okayama.
 
The festivals take place all over Japan but the 'Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri' is the most popular with over 9000 men participating on average.
 
During this festival the men wear nothing but a loincloth as they attempt to seize sacred sticks which are thrown to them by priests from the temple.
 
This specific festival takes place at night on the third Saturday every February anually.
 
More information about the festival and how to get there is available at:
Up Helly Aa
Up Helly Aa is a festival that occurrs annually during the month of January in the Shetland Isles, Scotland.

During the festival local people dress up as vikings and take part in traditional dances and most notably, full costume, torch led processions around town.
 
The festival climaxes with the setting alight of a full scale Galley built specifically for the festival.
 
The official website can be found at:
  www.uphellyaa.org