A food fight is a form of chaotic collective behavior, in which food is thrown at others in the manner of projectiles. These projectiles are not made to harm or damage others, but to simply ignite a fight filled with spontaneous food throwing. Food fights may be impromptu examples of rebellion or violence; however, they can also be planned events. For example, La Tomatina is a regularly held, organized Spanish food fight in which participants pelt each other with tomatoes. In organized food fights, the food "weapons" are usually all of one kind, or of a limited variety. An impromptu food fight will use whatever food is on hand.
Food fights are a common element in slapstick comedy, with the pie in the face gag being especially prominent. Food fights are frequently featured in children's television and books, usually as an example of destructive or reckless behavior. One famous food fight scene in a movie took place in National Lampoon's Animal House.
Though usually associated with juvenile settings such as schools, there are notable incidents that take place in more official locations, such as the food fight at a lunch meeting of the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan. In Europe, some food fights evolved into traditional celebrations rooted either in the recent past such as the Spanish La Tomatina or in long-gone centuries such as the Battaglia delle arance during the Carnival of Ivrea in Italy.
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