La Tomatina is an annual food fight festival held in the town of Buol (history), near Valencia, Spain, on the final Wednesday of August. Thousands upon thousands of people travel from all over the world to participate in the ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight,’ which involves the dumping of over 100 metric tonnes of overripe tomatoes into the streets.
Prior to 2013, anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 people (said to be 50,000 in 2012) jammed into Bunol’s regular 9,000-person population for this massive tomato war. Official ticketing has been in place since 2013, limiting the number of participants to only 20,000 lucky individuals.
What Happens At La Tomatina?
Around 11 a.m., a slew of trucks transports the harvest of tomatoes into the town’s heart, Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes are imported from Extremadura, where they are cheaper. The festival does not officially begin until one courageous soul has scaled a two-story high, greased-up wooden pole and reached the prized ham at the summit. In practice, this takes a long time, and the festival begins despite the fact that no one has reached the hefty reward. The launching of water cannons signals the start of the battle, and chaos ensues. Once the battle starts, it’s usually every man for himself.
The conflict comes to an end after an hour. No more tomatoes can be hurled at this point. Fire vehicles spray down the streets with water supplied by a Roman aqueduct as part of the cleansing operation. The officials appear to be more concerned with cleaning the town than with washing the visitors, thus some people wash in the Bunol River, however other helpful citizens will hose down passers-by. Because of the acidity of the tomato, once the pulp is flushed, the ground is clean.
How It All Started
Since 1944 or 1945, the tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Bunol. No one knows for sure how this occurrence came to be. A local food fight among friends, a juvenile class struggle, a salvo of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke on a terrible musician, and the chaotic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage are all possible hypotheses for how the Tomatina began.
One prevalent theory is that during a municipal celebration, dissatisfied citizens attacked city councilmen with tomatoes. Whatever started the tradition, it was so much fun that it was repeated the following year, and the year after that, and so on. The festival was outlawed during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in Spain since it had no religious meaning, but it was reinstated in the 1970s after his death.
Remember These Tips If You’re Going At La Tomatina Fest.
- Wear clothes that you don’t mind throwing away after the epic brawl at Tomatina. Some people are dressed in white t-shirts, while others are dressed in outdated clothes.
- Because you’ll be soaked by tomato rain and water hoses, wearing a swimsuit under your clothing is a good option.
- Avoid flip-flops and anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy if you don’t want to lose your shoes during the fight. But don’t forget to dress in something you won’t regret ruining.
- To avoid stinging eyes caused by tomato acid, carry your own swimming goggles. Tomato acid, on the other hand, is beneficial to your skin!
- Get a waterproof protective case for your device if you want to shoot a hilarious video or capture pictures during the conflict. Otherwise, it will perish.
- Keep a safe distance from the lorries and follow the security instructions.