LA TOMATINA FESTIVAL, Spain

La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain.

This year more than 40,000 people came from all over the world to a small village Bunol in Valencia (even from Japan and Australia) and spent about 100 tons of fresh tomatoes. La Tomatina is the ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’. It is a week-long festival that features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks.

The tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Bunol since 1944 or 1945. No one is completely certain how this event originated although there are a couple of stories. No matter what happened it seems it was so joyful that it was repeated the year after year. The only time the holiday was banned it was during the Francisco Franco but it returned in 1970s.

Around 10:00 am on that Wednesday in August event begin but technically not untill someone climbs up a greased pole at Plaza del Pueblo to knock a ham off the top. Once the ham hits the floor, it sets off a chain reaction and the festival can begin. The trucks filled with tomatoes from Extremadura enter the city square and the red tomato party begins! After exactly one hour, the fighting ends when the water cannons are fired once more to signal the end.

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.

If you are planing to go to La Tomatina be aware of some rules and advises:

  • Do not bring bottles or hard objects (they can cause accidents and hurt other participants)
  • Do not rip other people’s T-shirts
  • You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them
  • Ensure you keep a safe distance from the trucks
  • As soon as you hear the second shot, you must stop throwing tomatoes

Advice is: to wear clothes and shoes that you wan`t mind throwing away afterwards, goggles can be useful and take waterproof camera if you want to take pictures.

Since I have heard about this festival I have a plan to visit this event. This is doubtless one of those things you have to try once in life time. It is on my travel list!

Photo: La Tomatina 2012

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