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The Wine Battle 2017 in Spain Many travellers are familiar with the fact that tomatoes are almost sacred plants in every house in Spain, and therefore, once a year here they organise a massive "tomato fight". This festival is known all over the world as La Tomatina. However, not everyone knows about another grandiose event, which has been taking place in the province of Rioja since 1949. This year, The Wine Battle (Batalla del Vino) will be held on the 29th of June, outside the town of Aro.
Every year thousands of litres of wine are spilled all over the place during the festival, and all this is done in honour of the patron of the town, Saint Pedro. This is a very special day for locals who wake up at dawn and go to the church, carrying a jar of wine. After the mass, the procession moves to the rocks of Riscos de Bilibio, located about 6 kilometres from Aro. At 8 o'clock in the morning the mayor of Aro climbs to the top of the hill, where you will find a chapel erected in honour of the hermit who lived there in the V century. So begins the brightest and most fun holiday of the summer!
Any local resident will gladly tell you the legend of the origin of the Wine Battle: it all began during the territorial dispute between the towns of Miranda de Ebro and Aro. Every year the inhabitants of Aro arranged a wine festival in Riscos de Bilibio. And if, on that day, the people from Aro did not show up, the town of Aro lost the right to land and the territory was taken over by people from Miranda de Ebro. Some historians believe that in reality everything was much more serious. The land between the cities of Aro and Miranda de Ebro caused a fierce battle, which resulted in many deaths.
Many local residents with trepidation maintain the established tradition, and every year they enthusiastically participate in The Wine Battle along with travellers from all over the world. The festival was included in the list of activities of national touristic interest. All the participants are divided into 2 teams and are supposed to pour wine on the heads of the opponents. Every year the organisers fill special bottles called botas, which are made of leather, with house wine. About 40 thousand litres of red wine end up on the battlefield.
Of course, those traditional botas are not the only ones on the holiday: nowadays the participants also use water pistols, buckets and plastic containers. Thus, the total amount of wine reaches 130 thousand litres. The participation in the battle involves some amusing rules. For example, one of them says: "All the participants must be dressed in white, wearing a red shawl or scarf"! In addition, it is totally allowed to laugh and sing during the battle, while the invited musicians will only increase the spirit of the day. But as soon as you see that your teammates are leaving the battlefield to get a bit of local tapas, or taste delicious snails or ribs, it's time for you to regain strength and join your comrades!
At the beginning of this summer, thousands of inquisitive travellers will come to Rioja to participate in this unusual fight and plunge into the culture of the country. After the Wine Battle, all the participants will return into town, where you will see them dancing and having fun until they literally fall down. On this day in Aro there is also a bullfight.
Madrid – Basque Country
Barcelona – Basque Country

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