One of the biggest food fight festivals in the world, La Tomatina is celebrated every year on the last Wednesday of August in Bunol, Spain. Thousands of people – locals and tourists – descend on the small town of Bunol to engage in a zealous tomato fight that lasts over an hour. A state-sanctioned event, La Tomatina starts at around 11am in the morning, following which truckloads of rotten or poor quality tomatoes, sourced from Extremadura, enter the city centre and begin the flooding of the streets with tomatoes. This year, the festival will be held on 29th August.

La-Tomatina-2018

Image Credits: Carlesboveserral

How Tomatina Started

Speculated to have started in 1944 or 1945, La Tomatina owes its origin to an innocuous fight that ensued between a group of friends attending a local town parade. It is said that the friends grabbed whichever vegetable they could lay their hands on from the stall of a local vegetable vendor and hurled at each other. They had so much fun doing this, that they returned the next year to repeat their action and unknowingly marked the beginning of a festival that is one of the most loved in the world.

Some Essential Rules Festival Goers Are Expected to Follow

  • You can’t take plastic bottles or hard objects that can harm others
  • You can’t take off other people’s clothes
  • Squash the potatoes before you hit someone with them to lesser the impact
  • Stay away from the lorries distributing the tomatoes after you have taken your share to avoid an accident
  • The first shot marks the beginning of the festival and the second shot marks its end. Under no circumstances, can you start throwing tomatoes before the official time or continue throwing them after it

Fun Facts about Tomatina

  • With over 50,000 participants, La Tomatina is the biggest food fight in the world
  • The number of tomatoes used for the festival are approximated at around 40 metric tonnes
  • The week before the day of the festival sees huge celebrations in the city of Bunol including massive parades, cooking contests and fireworks
  • There are several versions of the festival taking place around the world including that in Nevada, Chicago and India
  • The festival was banned in 1955 by Francisco Franco for having no religious significance, but was reinitiated after his death

Useful Advice for Those Attending the Festival

  • Book your accommodation in advance if you plan to stay amidst all the action as Bunol is a small town and it gets jam-packed during the festival
  • Wear closed shoes so that you can prevent your feet from getting stomped on
  • Dress up in your worn out clothes because you might not be able to redeem your clothes
  • Consider wearing an eye gear so that the tomato pulp or juice doesn’t go into your eyes
  • Take a waterproof camera along if you intend to click pictures
  • Though, the festival is quite safe to attend, try and stay with your group for the larger part of it

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