La Tomatina: The World’s Biggest Tomato Fight

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If you’re preparing for La Tomatina, get ready to participate in the world’s largest food fight! La Tomatina is a tomato-throwing festival in Buñol, a town near Valencia. During this tomato fight festival in Spain, people throw tons (literally) of over-ripe tomatoes at each other. If your reason for learning Spanish was to connect with the local culture, here is your chance. Visit this one-of-a-kind festival which happens every year on the last Wednesday in August. Give this article a look to get some great tips before heading to La Tomatina!

la tomatina buñol
The air at La Tomatina is full of hands and tomatoes!

Origins of La Tomatina Festival

La Tomatina in Spain originally started one day when some rowdy teenagers used vegetables during a street fight. The next year, teenagers returned with their own tomatoes and staged a friendly tomato fight. The tradition continued off and on throughout the years. Now, this tomato festival in Spain is an official Fiesta of International Tourist Interest. Many people consider this a ‘bucket list’ festival!

Information on La Tomatina

This tomato festival in Buñol starts very early on the last Wednesday in August. In the town’s central square, a ham is hung from a greased pole. People try to climb the pole to reach the ham which signals the start of the tomato fight (around 11:00). Tons of tomatoes are dumped into the streets by trucks. The tomato throwing continues for an hour and officials fire a gun at 12:00 to signal the end. Hoses spray water on festival-goers before and after the fight. Residents help wash the tomatoes off people, so say a nice Spanish greeting in exchange!

 

la tomatina buñol
People (and buildings) are wearing protective gear.

Tips for La Tomatina

The tomato-throwing festival might seem crazy or dangerous to some people but never fear. Knowing the rules and following these Tomatina tips will help you enjoy the festival safely.

  • Wear clothes that you won’t mind throwing away. The tomatoes will definitely stain your clothes.
  • Take a change of clothes. If you’re taking a bus to La Tomatina, the driver will not allow you to re-board the bus dripping in tomato!
  • Bring goggles and protect your eyes from acidic tomato juice.
  • Rent a locker and store extra clothes and any valuables you need to bring. It is even better to leave valuables behind, so there is no worrying about having items broken, stolen or drenched in tomato.
  • Wear sneakers, not flip-flops. The streets look like a river of gazpacho when the fight is over!
  • Squash tomatoes before throwing them. This is an official rule of La Tomatina to minimize injuries.

Now, buy your Tomatina ticket, get on a bus and get familiar with the Spanish culture!

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