As festivals go they don’t get more crazy than La Tomatina Festival in Valencia. This hugely popular Spanish Festival is held on the last Wednesday of August each year and sees the 9,000 population of the town of Buñol swell hugely to around 50,000 people.
La Tomatina Festival, Valencia
The worlds largest tomato fight has been a tradition in Buñol since the mid 1940’s and to this day, nobody is certain how the festival originated. One theory among locals is that disgruntled townsfolk attacked some of the town’s councilmen with tomatoes during a fiesta. Whatever the reason, so much fun was had that the tradition has been repeated year after year and participants continue to grow.
La Tomatina Experience
On the day of the festival trucks loaded with tomatoes enter the town centre in the late morning. A tall wooden pole is set up and covered in grease with a ham placed on top. The festival is not meant to start until some intrepid participant reaches the top and claims the prize, although being such a difficult task more times than not the chaos begins before the firing of the water cannon that signals the start. For the next hour it’s every man for himself as participants do their best to pelt each other with as many tomatoes as they can. At the end of the one hour battle all the pulp spattered participants help out in cleaning the streets with the assistance of fire trucks pumping water from a Roman aqueduct.
It is advisable for those taking part in La Tomatina Festival in Valencia to wear old clothing and closed shoes as the streets become very slippery. Those wishing to stay overnight should book their accommodation well in advance.
For ticket bookings and more great information about La Tomatina Festival please visit the tomatina.es website.