Have you ever dreamed of getting in a fight and throwing tomatoes at your opponents? If you would love to be covered up with tomatoes, you probably want to experience one of the most popular festivals in Spain, La Tomatina. According to Fruittoday Euromagazine, Spanish eat around 17 kilos of tomatoes per person annually. That’s a whole lot of tomatoes. Their love for tomatoes is beyond the normal range that they basically created a tomato fight festival for them to enjoy!
Just in case you do not know, the Spanish use tomatoes in almost every dish every single day. They would use them in a fresh way, or being simmered in a sauce, stewed or crushed. You can always see that tomato as an essential ingredient in majority of Spanish cuisine. Tomato sauce is usually served on the side with chicken, omelets, fried eggs and meat at most Spanish dinner tables. The famous place where La Tomatina takes place is in Bunol. This fact can easily be understand because toward the southeast of Spain, Murcia and Valencia are regarded as the regions with the most growing tomatoes. Bunol is located to the west of the Valencia’s capital city. (image by Reno Tahoe)
According to all accounts, La Tomatina festival was started by accident on the last Wednesday of August in 1945 in Bunol. It started when a few young men broke out into a fight and taking the advantage of vegetable and fruit vendor’s stall. They began throwing tomatoes at each other and the fight was stopped only when the police came to break up the altercation. No one would have thought that young people wanted more than just that because the following year during the same parade, some of them brought tomatoes and began throwing the tomatoes to each other. It was only in 1957 when the tomatoes fight was allowed to be continued and the city government has been providing tomatoes since 1980!
Today, La Tomatina is regarded as one of the most bizarre festivals in the world and every year, Spain witnesses locals and tourists alike getting involved in the festival. The celebration usually takes place in the plaza mayor of Bunol on the last Wednesday in the month of August. After the a rocket sound being fired at 11:00am, La Tomatina officially starts and the fight will continue for an hour. Every year around 40,000 people are expected to join the throwing tomatoes festival with around 100 tons of ripe tomatoes being expected to be used. The rules of the fight are simple such as not to bring any bottles or sharp objects that will cause an accident. Tearing or throwing other people’s T-shirts are not allowed and in order to avoid hurting people, the tomatoes must be squashed first. After the second shot, everyone is expected to stop throwing tomatoes.(image by Patrick)
La Tomatina is definitely a festival that everyone should watch and join. Because of this festival, Spain has become widely known to the whole world as one of the countries hosting out-of-mind festival. It becomes the symbol and pride of Spain and if you are traveling somewhere in Europe someday, we hope you will consider spending some times in Bunol in the month of August to witness this bizarre festival. Remember that on that day, tomatoes are not for you to eat. It is a weapon for you to fight and have fun.
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Feature image by Reno Tahoe