‘One got me right in the mouth and I think I ended up eating some of the mushed up bits. It was crazy fun and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. People were standing on trucks filled with tomatoes just throwing them at passers by. All the narrow streets vearing off from the square were filled with people. It was great fun.’ said a close friend on her experience of La Tomatina.
A few years ago two of my friends uploaded a photo of them covered in tomatoes. On their return they told us the tale of their day spent throwing tomatoes at each other on the streets of Bunol, a town in Valencia. Ever since I have always wanted to go.
La Tomatina is a very strange festival and the origin is still a mystery. Each year, on the last Wednesday of August (today), tens of thousands of people gather in the town square (Plaza del Pueblo) to take part in the worlds biggest food fight.
Nobody is sure how the Spanish tradition began but many stories have been told, adapted and exaggerated over the years. Whilst I was researching its origin the most commonly told tale I found was that in 1945 two boys began tossing tomatoes at a parade that was taking place to honour a local patron saint. This escalated as the crowd that had gathered at the parade also got involved. The following year a group brought their own tomatoes and recreated the madness…the rest is history.
It has become such a popular tourist attraction that from 2013 onwards a ticketing system was introduced, limiting the amount of people able to take part to 20,000. The tickets cost €10 to participate in the madness involving one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes that have been delivered to Bunol from Extremadura as they do not grow them themselves.
This year, in celebration of the 70th anniversary, they have created the first tomato-based obstacle course called The Tomatina Race.
This is definitely something I have added to my bucket list as I think it would be hilarious and my friends highly recommended it to me.
What I do wonder is how the hell do they clean it all up afterwards?