“La Tomatina” is a festival that takes place every year in a small Spanish town of Bunol near Valencia. It attracts more than 20,000 people every year, and is regarded as the world’s biggest food fight.
How did La Tomatina Start …..
The tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Bunol since 1944 or 1945. No one is completely certain how this event originated. Possible theories on how the Tomatina began include a local food fight among friends, a juvenile class war, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke on a bad musician, and the anarchic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage.
One popular theory is that disgruntled townspeople attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration. Whatever happened to begin the tradition, it was enjoyed so much that it was repeated the next year, and the year after that, and so on. The holiday was banned during the Spanish State period under Francisco Franco for having no religious significance, but returned in the 1970s after his demise.
The festival is in honor of the town’s patron saints, Luis Bertran and the Mare de Deu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary.
The festival takes place on the last Wednesday in August. “La Tomatina” was a free festival ever since its inception in 1945, and it wasn’t until 2013 that all participants were required to pay a $13 fee.
The Rules of La Tomatina
- Do not bring bottles or hard objects as they can cause accidents and hurt other participants
- Do not rip other people’s T-shirts
- You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them as this reduces the impact
- Ensure you keep a safe distance from the lorries
- As soon as you hear the second shot, you must stop throwing tomatoes
- Wear closed shoes that you don’t mind throwing away afterwards. If you wear flip-flops, you may get hurt, or you could lose them easily during the battle
- Wear old clothes, or clothes that you aren’t planning to wear again. They will most likely end up damaged from being ripped or incredibly dirty
- You may find goggles useful. However, it is safer if you just ensure that you always have something clean to wipe your eyes with. The best thing is if you tuck your T-Shirt into your shorts to keep the bottom part of your T-shirt clean and dry
- If you are planning to take pictures, bring a waterproof camera!
- If you’re not from Buñol, and you want to stay overnight, don’t forget to look for and secure accommodation in advance
- Do not miss the Palojabón – a soap-covered pole with a Spanish ham at the top: whoever can climb the pole and get the ham can keep it!
- Stay safe and enjoy the festivities as much possible