April 20, 2012 (TSR) – You may well wonder what noble cause brings hundreds of Romans to the streets on the third Sunday of April every year. The answer is pure unadulterated fun; a feather-fuelled expression of menefreghismo.
Every year since 2006, hundreds of pillow-wielding revelers gather in the Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome, for the ‘Roman Pillow Fight’, dubbed “l’Apocalisse Soffice” (“the Fluffy Apocalypse.”)
The 7th Annual Roman Pillow Fight
In the words of the official Roman Pillow Fight blog: “It is a celebration of jubilation, a triumph of softness and the most fun way to tell the hate and fear-mongers that gnaw away at this country that they are busting our balls!”
According to one of many Roman Pillow Fight Facebook pages which attempts to explain the ideology of pillow fighting, it is “solenne minchiata!” (“downright bullshit!”) In politically correct terms: “just for fun.”
“When people ask me why I do it I normally respond ‘Why not?’” says veteran pillow-fighter Matteo, who is looking forward to participating in his 7th Roman Pillow Fight this month.
Matteo was drawn to the idea of pillow fighting by the flash mob culture which has taken Italy and the world by storm over the last decade.
“The pillow fight,” explains Matteo, “embodies – or rather stuffs – the spirit and original idea of the flashmob: meeting up with perfect strangers in a public place and doing something unusual, away from the screens, for no other reason than to have fun and put a stop to daily monotony.”
Pillow fighting is also a way to bring strangers together: “You meet new people and old battle comrades and end up singing a few Roman ballads together!” says Matteo.
“It is pure fun, a frenzy of delight that draws you in, overwhelms you and leaves you totally reinvigorated,” says pillow comrade-in-arms Stefano.
Last Sunday April. 15 at 6pm, troops of pillow fighters will gather once more for Rome’s 7th – and greatest – Pillow Fight to date. To participate you just need to bring your own pillow of the colour, texture and shape of your choosing and – depending on how hardcore you are feeling – a pair of pyjamas. There is no signal or “master of ceremonies.”
People of all ages and persuasions are invited to take part. This year, Valerio, who will participate in his third Roman Pillow Fight this year, plans to bring his two-month-old daughter. “She will be the youngest fighter in history! I already have special Pillow Fight sheets for the pushchair!”
However, even pillow fighting comes with its own instruction manual. “It is forbidden to hit anyone without a pillow or a person who begs you pathetically not to” the blog warns pillow fighters. Pillows with blunt instruments in them are strictly forbidden and “anyone caught playing violently will be excluded.” Revelers are encouraged to bring a plastic bag to pick up the feathers that will inevitably litter the Piazza.
And what if it rains? “EPIC!” muses one enthusiast on the official Rome Pillow Fight Facebook fan page.
This is a video from the 2010 edition: “Pillow me if you love me!”
THE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL PILLOW FIGHT, APRIL 21, 2012
Public pillow fighting is not just an Italian phenomenon. This April, a series of large scale pillow fights will take place all over the world as part of the ‘Urban Playground Movement’ as far afield as San Francisco, New York, London, Berlin, Madrid. Such is the power of Facebook and the internet.
Like any movement, the idea of turning public places into a playground for all to revel in is hinged upon an ideology. According to the International Pillow Fighting website, the aim of the ‘Urban Playground Movement’ is to turn events such as pillow fights into a significant part of popular culture with an aim to replace “passive, non-social consumption experiences like watching television” and turn public spaces into “urban living rooms.” Ultimately, they hope to create a global comunity of participants within every major city in the world.
For information on up-coming pillow fights around the world visit http://www.pillowfightday.com/.
We approve and like this holiday. Who doesn’t want to join a holiday celebration that involves a pillow in your hand and pyjamas on (or whatever you like), fight and release all your frustrations to usher World Peace? We think this is a better alternative to using bombs, guns, killing and tanks in settling all our differences. Pillow our way to World Peace! Fiiiiiiiiiiight, Peace Warriors! -TSR