An Italian abroad: Thomas Galli’s thoughts on Honiton Hot Pennies 2018
PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 July 2018
The Herald sent along one of its work experience students, 17-year-old Italian Thomas Galli, to witness the madness of Honiton Hot Pennies 2018. Here are his thoughts…
“It wasn’t the first time I’ve been to Honiton.
“I’ve visited the town in the past for my summer holidays. However, I was never aware of this event which the town holds every year.
“I’ve been told by the team at the Herald crew that Honiton Hot Pennies has been going on for more than 100 years.
“So, for my work experience job, I needed to take photographs of this annual event.
“Before the event started, the local mayor (Dave Retter) was making the traditional speeches for the Honiton Hot Pennies event. With him, a crowd of people listened on while a group of people held a golden glove.
“The glove has significant meanings – when it was up, no-one who came to the fair was allowed to be arrested for past offences.
“The mayor would speak the same speech three times before pennies where launched from different destinations on high street.
“After that, the pennies would be launched from the windows above the chosen buildings and everyone would try to pick up as much as possible - making an unreasonable profit!
“The throwing fest reminded me of an Italian event which it has being going on since the Medieval era.
“Ivrea’s Carnival is held once a year – the event would see everybody throw roughly 600 tons of oranges at each other from every angle!
“It all started, I believe, when the landowners would donate baskets of beans to the residents of Ivrea once a year.
“Some families would throw them out of their own windows onto the street because they did not like what they received.
“During the carnival, this gesture of rejection has come to life through different objects - and in recent times they have chosen inedible oranges.
“It seems a big waste of fruit, but these oranges aren’t good for eating.
“At the end of the day the area gets cleared up and the remaining of the oranges are used as compost for the local agriculture.”