Posted by Sponsored Post Posted on 8 May 2024

All You Need to Know About Spain’s La Tomatina Festival

La Tomatina is one of Spain’s most iconic festivals. It is a very messy but very fun Spanish fiesta. It takes place on the last Friday of August every year on the last Wednesday of August. It’s known as the world’s largest food fight, and the food, you guessed it, tomatoes. 

The Spanish use no less than 150,000 kgs of fully ripe tomatoes. Instead of eating these, the tourists and locals engage in a food fight using these tomatoes. You can live stream this iconic channel on various YouTube channels like Reuters, The Independent, and Euronews. 

All you need is your phone and a steady internet connection like Optimum to become a part of this mad fun. If you come across any problems with your internet connection discontinuing your stream, you can call numero de Optimum en español and they will resolve the issue. 

Buñol

The town of Buñol itself is rather quiet and peaceful, situated near the Mediterranean Sea. It’s 40 kilometers west of Valencia and a couple of hours south of Barcelona. The town only has a population of 9,000 people but draws over 15,000 tourists for the big event. 

Attendees plan their stay in the cities of Barcelona or Valencia. There’s a nice historic castle in Buñol, so it’s worth a visit. The attraction of this town is mainly the festival. You’ve probably seen the footage before and thought, “What on earth is the point of this massive food fight?”

Origins & Evolution of La Tomatina

No one knows for sure how this event started. The most widely believed idea is that La Tomatina has its roots in a religious exercise that went sideways in 1945. The story goes that someone started causing a ruckus during a procession, making an important participant fall to the ground. 

A fight then broke out, and there just happened to be a vegetable stand right there with lots of tomatoes. A huge fight of throwing tomatoes ensued. From then on, the townspeople revived this as a recurring festival every year. During the Franco dictatorship in Spain, the event was banned on several occasions, but that never stopped the town. 

Finally, after Franco’s regime ended, La Tomatina became an official event in the 1970s. This is when the festival gained true momentum. For years, the event attracted upwards of 50,000 people. To ensure the safety and economy of the event, in 2013, the number of attendees was limited to 20,000.

The Festival – What Happens?

So, what happens during La Tomatina? They kick off the festival with a fun activity, Palo Jabón. Now, imagine a big greasy pole as tall as a two-story house with a ham perched on the top as the price. Getting this prize demands a lot of courage and prowess.  

It has proven to be quite a challenging task. Few people have managed this feat in recent years. But in any case, the event organizers let this competition go on for about an hour starting at around 10 a.m. At 11 a.m., the cannon sounds, and the trucks start rolling in. 

The trucks bring the super-ripe tomatoes. They make a pile of these tomatoes at Plaza del Pueblo which is the town center. And that’s when the fighting begins. These tomatoes are free of cost and there is no limit to how many you can throw and who you can throw them at. The trucks then make their way around the town center, dropping more ammunition and pelting festival-goers with tomatoes as well. 

The whole event lasts about an hour. You have to stop at the sound of the second cannon. At this point, everyone is thoroughly coated in tomatoes. As you might expect, and once the event ends, the town’s residents kindly rinse everybody off from their balconies. 

The town also organizes to clean the streets and hose them down. Miraculously, the tomato citric acid acts as a natural cleansing agent, so the streets are incredibly clean when it’s all said and done. 

Las Reglas

What else do you need to know? Well, the rules. There are several official rules put out by event organizers. 

For one, you can’t throw anything but tomatoes. You can’t tear or pull off anybody’s shirts. Another very important rule is that you must squish the tomatoes first before throwing them, which of course makes them softer and less dangerous. 

It hurts to get hit by a full tomato. You need to keep a safe distance from the trucks too because it gets very crowded, so this is very important for safety. Stop throwing your ammo as soon as you hear the second cannon.

In practice, it’s not quite so abrupt as that, but it does work. There’s also a huge team of security staff for the event, and you have to follow their directions to ensure everybody’s safety. 

This is a ticketed event because it is very popular globally. For economic reasons with a limited supply, 15,000 tickets are offered to tourists every year. But don’t worry, it just costs 12 euros. 

What to wear to the event? Well, it’s messy too. Old clothes are best, and bring a change of clothes too. These are going to get soaked from the tomatoes and be hosed down afterward. Also, you’d think that flip-flops or sandals would make sense for this reason, but actually, they’re likely to get your foot stomped on at least a few times. So, it’s better to wear old trainers. If you want to take photos or videos, make sure your camera is waterproofed. 

Last, but not least, you can opt to wear goggles. They do tend to get dirty quickly though, so if you object to wearing goggles, keep your head down. 

Summing Up

Does it sound like fun? We assure you it is. It’s hilarious and chaotic at the same time. If big crowds and tomatoes don’t bother you at all, then it is highly recommend checking out La Tomatina at least once in your lifetime. 




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