Last Monday one of our students asked me about La Tomatina because he had seen a Youtube video and he couldn’t believe what people do in this tomato fight party… So here you have some information about this festival that is held today in Buñol, a Valencian town located 30 km from the Mediterranean.
In La Tomatina thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Purely for fun. Last year 50,000 people came to this huge tomato fight, greatly expanding Buñol’s normal 9,000 person population.
Due to the success of La Tomatina Festival and the large number of attendees, Town Hall of Buñol has decided to pay a tax of 10 euros to access the “Tomatoes Area” to guarantee the quality as well as the safety of the party. At the same time, the lorries route has been lengthened to offer more space to the participants who will be able now to have more space and more freedom to pelt others with tomatoes.
This week-long festival (Summer Festival of Buñol) features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. On the night before the tomato fight, participants of the festival compete in a paella cooking contest.
La Tomatina started the last Wednesday of August in 1945 when some young people spent the time in the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade. The young boys decided to have a place among the retinue of a parade with musician, Giants and Big-Heads figures.
The energy of these young people made that one participant fell off. The participant flew into a fit of rage, started to hit everything in his path. There was a market stall of vegetable that fell victim of the furious crowd: people started to pelt each other with tomatoes until the local forces ended that vegetable battle. In 2002, La Tomatina of Buñol was declared Festivity of International Tourist Interest and nowdays this party pumps 300,000 euros into the local economy.
Some people think that this party it’s a waste of food but it’s not really true because all the good tomatoes are exported. The ones that are thrown in this party are the nasty, rotten, rancid, unfit for humans stuff that would otherwise be dumped.
Take a look at this video (my student sent it to me), so you can have an idea of how La Tomatina looks like.