At the end of june in Haro, a sunny town in Spain settled in the wine region of La Rioja, took place the Batalla de Vino, a real guerrilla whose participants adopt an unusual weapon: liters and liters of wine! During the festival, held in honor of San Pedro, residents and tourists swamp the street throwing wine on each other and having fun in an atmosphere of celebration and joy.
This bizarre Spanish festival has its origins in very ancient times and probably originated from a dispute between the citizens of Haro and those of the nearby village of Miranda de Ebro: the problem, apparently, was the possession of certain rough and steep territories in the area, and even today the tradition symbolizes for the people of Haro the supremacy over their neighbors! But it was only in 1965 that the festival received a real consecration with proper rules, for example the strict obligation to wear white clothes and red handkerchiefs, following tradition.
The festival takes place in Riscos of Bilibio and starts very early, at 7 am, when people start to carry the several liters of wine that will later be used by the participants, using carts, tractors and special vehicles. One of the funny sides of the story is that the wine can be transported in any container that allows you to pour, splash or spill the wine upon the others, so there is ample room for the imagination!
The path continues up to the highest cliff of the town, where the town council hoist a flag initiating the Mass and the procession reaches a sanctuary, where the ceremony is celebrated. This is only a brief period of calm before the blast: at the end of the Mass, the battle begins and the liters and liters of wine become the ammunition for wine-filled bag splashes!
Depleted stocks of wine, the participants can then wipe their clothes and delight in a feast of escargots! Later on, everybody goes back to Haro, where the festivities continue all night long..