La Tomatina, Songkran and Carnival of Ivrea – How world celebrates colour

There are many festivals around the world that celebrate colour and water.

holi, lifestyle
Students celebrating Holi near Bharti vidyapith college campus on Friday. (File photo: Pavan Khengre)

Holi is one of the most popular festivals in India. On this day, people smear and drench each other with colours. Water guns and water-filled balloons are often used to play with and colour each other. Singing, dancing, visiting family and friends and enjoying food and drink are also part of the celebrations. However, there are many festivals around the world that celebrate colour and water. With Holi around the corner, here’s a look at a few of them.

La Tomatina, Spain

BUNOL, SPAIN – AUGUST 30, 2018: Battle of tomatoes – tomatoes madness. La Tomatina festival in spanish town where people throw tomatoes

La Tomatina, a festival made popular in India by the 2011 adventure film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, is held in the Valencian town of Bunol, in the east of Spain 30 km from the Mediterranean, in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in a tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes. Since 1945, it has been held on the last Wednesday of August, during a week of festivities in Bunol. In 2002, La Tomatina was declared a ‘Festivity of International Tourist Interest’ by the Spanish department of tourism due to its popularity. Usually, the ‘tomato fight’ lasts for about one hour, after which the town square is covered with tomato debris. Fire trucks then hose down the streets and participants often use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomatoes from their bodies. Since 2013, participation in the event has been restricted to the 20,000 holders of paid tickets. In 2015, it was estimated that almost 145,000 kg of tomatoes were thrown.

Carnival of Ivrea, Italy

Ivrea, Italy – February 11, 2013:

The Carnival of Ivrea is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organised groups, known as the ‘Battle of the Oranges’. It is the largest food fight in Italy and surrounding countries. The core celebration is based on a locally famous Battle of the Oranges that involves some thousands of townspeople, divided into nine combat teams, who throw oranges at each other – with considerable violence – during the traditional carnival days: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Originally beans were thrown, then apples. Later, in the 19th century, oranges came to represent the stones thrown at the king’s castle in order to demolish it. In 1994, an estimated 265,000 kg of oranges were brought to the city, mainly coming from the leftovers of the winter crop in southern Italy.

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Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea

The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival which takes place during the summer in Boryeong, a town around 200 km south of Seoul, South Korea. The first Mud Festival was staged in 1998 and, by 2007, the festival attracted 2.2 million visitors to Boryeong. The mud is taken from the Boryeong mud flats, and trucked to the Daecheon beach area, where it is used as the centrepiece of the ‘Mud Experience Land’. The mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. The festival was originally conceived as a marketing vehicle for Boryeong mud cosmetics. Although the festival takes place over a period of around two weeks, it is most famous for its final weekend, which is popular with Korea’s western population. For the period of the festival several large attractions are erected in the seafront area of Daecheon. These include a mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing competitions. This is a ticketed event, and the tickets can be purchased online or at the venue. Coloured mud is also produced for body painting.

Haro Wine Festival, Spain

The Haro Wine Festival is a summer festival in the town of Haro, La Rioja, Spain. It features a Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine) and youth bullfights. It is considered a ‘Festival of International Tourist Interest’ and takes place on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro. The festival includes a mass that is celebrated at the Chapel of San Felices de Bilibio. After the mass, the Battle of Wine begins. During lunch, participants throw wine on each other until everyone is completely soaked and coloured purple.

Also read: Holi 2023 Ticket Booking: Here’s how you can book cheap flight tickets to go home this festival

Songkran, Thailand

AYUTTAYA, THAILAND – APRIL 15: Songkran Festival is celebrated in a traditional New Year’s Day from April 13 to 15, with the splashing water with elephants on April 15, 2011 in Bangkok.

Songkran is the Thai New Year’s national holiday. Songkran is on April 13 every year, but the holiday period extends from April 14 to 15. The holiday is known for its water festival. Major streets are closed to traffic and are used as arenas for water fights. Celebrants, young and old, participate in this tradition by splashing water on each other. Traditional parades are held and, in some venues, ‘Lady Songkran’ or ‘Miss Songkran’ is crowned. Traditionally, people gently sprinkled water on one another as a sign of respect, but as the new year falls during the hottest month in southeast Asia, many people end up dousing strangers and passers-by in vehicles in boisterous celebration.

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First published on: 05-03-2023 at 02:15 IST
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