Spain’s popular food fight festival called La Tomatina is round the corner! Every year, this celebration takes place on the last Wednesday of August. Following the same trend, La Tomatina will be observed on 31st of August this year at the Plaza del Pueblo, Buñol. Around 150 tonnes of tomatoes are supposed to rain down on participants during the event!
The official festivity is scheduled to begin at 10 AM. The first challenge will be Palo Jabon, a long greased pole with ham on its top. To elaborate, a person needs to climb up the pole and make the ham drop. In the meantime, those on the ground sing and dance in circles. When this is done, a water shot is fired on air and soon the area turns red due to the abundance of smashed tomatoes. The estimated number of tomatoes used is around 150,000 kg. After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot. Participants can clean themselves from the hoses that locals provide or go to the pool of “los peñones” to wash off.
Rules to Follow
• Participants should not bring bottles or hard objects as they can cause harm
• Participants need to squash the tomatoes before throwing them. This is done to lessen the impact
• Participants must not tear anybody’s clothes while enjoying the festival
• Participants need to maintain some distance from the trucks
• Participants should immediately stop throwing the tomatoes after hearing the second shot
• Closed shoes are best for La Tomatina. In flip-flops, participants might get hurt or can lose them easily during the battle
• Amateur and professional photographers should bring waterproof cameras
• Wear old clothes or ones that are not to be used again. During the battle, they might get damaged, torn or dirty
• Goggles prove useful. If not using them, participants should have something to wipe their eyes
• Both domestic and international travellers should book accommodation in advance
International travellers can put up in the port city of Valencia and make a day trip to Buñol for the festival. There are packages available that include hotel accommodation and transportation. Needless to say, prices vary as per the stay preference.
There’s no definite evidence on how La Tomatina originated, but according to a popular theory, dissatisfied townspeople revolted and attacked the city councilmen with tomatoes during a celebration. The act of throwing tomatoes was enjoyed to such an extent that people continued to play it year after year. In 2002, La Tomatina of Buñol was declared a Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary Department of Tourism.