Imagine waking up and preparing for one of the world’s largest food fights on a warm August morning in Spain. Yes, it is a real thing and an event that draws thirty to forty thousand people annually to test their skills at throwing and smash tomatoes in the Plaza del Pueblo in the small town of Buñol.
The event is called La Tomatina and has been an annual tradition since 1945. There is not strong evidence that shows how or why the event originated, though, possible theories point towards a local food fight among friends, juvenile class war, volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, and the anarchic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage.
Regardless of the cause, the tradition became the talk of the town, then talk of the country, and now talk of the world. Today, the festival is in honor of the towns patron saints, Luis Bertran and Mare de Deu dels Desemparats, a title of the Virgin Mary.
People of Valencia march in protest in 1957 when the festivity was cancelled. Shortly after, the festivity started to be known to the rest of Spain and La Tomatina Festival became an official festivity.
11:00AM: Dozens of trucks arrive hauling thousands of over-ripe tomatoes to the city center of Bunol.
12:00PM: Festival does not begin until one person climbs a two-story high greased-up wooden pole to reach a giant slab of ham. This process can take a while!
2:00PM: Water cannons fire and chaos begins – The Palojabon!
3:00PM: Fighting subsides as tomatoes are scant. Participants head to the Bunol River to wash up and residents also offer hoses to hose down passers-by.
*Fun Fact: All of the smashed tomato pulp on the ground is clean due to the acidity of the tomatoes.
WHEN you decide to attend this unusual and one-of-a-kind event, here are a few things you need to know:
1. Only tomatoes are allowed.
2. Once the festival time ends, you can’t throw any more tomatoes.
3. It is a key rule to clear way for the trucks or other vehicles carrying tomatoes.
4. Tomatoes must be smashed before throwing to prevent injuries.
5. You don’t need to bring your own tomatoes.
6. Tickets are 10 euros.
7. The harmless “battle” lasts for 1 hour.
8. Always wear closed and flat shoes to avoid injury.
9. Wear old clothes that you no longer need or want to wear.
10. Bring a waterproof iPhone or camera.
11. Goggles or eye protection are recommended.
12. Clean yourself as soon as possible to avoid infections.
Stoke Travel are offering all-inclusive camping at their festival campsite, transfers to and from the tomato fight and free entry to Stoke Travel’s Foreplay Party with live bands and DJ’s.
So, are you ready to get sauced? Book your tickets today and enjoy the party!
Feature image credit: DoGo NewsLast updated on Oct 11, 2019
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