What is known as the world’s biggest food fight and an epic scene from the blockbuster film ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ is La Tomatina festival in Spain. This event is what marks the beginning of a thrilling week where you discover the pleasure of tossing tomatoes at strangers and your friends while dodging those that are aimed at you. Some enormous campsite parties awaits you here with live performances as well. It is this day when more than 150,000 tomatoes meet their fate. 740-strong team encompassing professionals from a combination of fire service, police, health services as well as volunteers that keep the crowd in check and safe.
A lot of controversy lies around food wastage. It is estimated that around 160 tonnes worth tomatoes are brought in and squeezed the life out of. However, the tomatoes used in the festivity are inferior in taste, low- quality and come at a dirt cheap price from a place called Extremadura. And what’s more? Once the tomato pulp is washed away, the ground shines clean owing to the acidity of the tomato.
La Tomatina is high on many bucket lists. It helps if you have a survival guide that will make sure you know how to prepare for La Tomatina. Something that provides you enough information on what to wear, how to stay safe, what to carry, etc. So, we at iTraveller have jotted down every piece of information that you need to know before stepping into the vegetable battleground.
History about La Tomatina Festival
History states that years back in 1945, on the last Wednesday of August, a street fight broke out in Buñol. One of the participants started pelting everyone with fruits and vegetables that he got his hands on from a market stall nearby. This in turn led to a whole cluster of people doing the same. The following year, this same group of young adults picked up a quarrel purposely and an all-out vegetable battle arose. They bought their own tomatoes and it set a tradition to be followed each year.
Although the police tried to break the early tradition, the vibe and popularity was already soaring and the food fight lived on. By the town’s people’s wishes the tradition was brought back after being banned in the 50’s and has been going on since then.
Where Does La Tomatina Take Place?
This crazy war of salad vegetable is held in the streets of Buñol, just outside the city of Valencia. Valencia in Spain is an autonomous and provincial capital city and Buñol is a charming little hamlet. Plaza del Pueblo, the centre of the town is where many trucks are pulled in with the abundance of tomatoes.
It takes place here for a sole reason to celebrate and honour Buñol’s patron saints – The Virgin Mary and Luis Bertrán. The people of Buñol are exceptionally creative, fun loving, friendly and adventure-loving as well and that is what keeps this festival lively and energetic. The town of Buñol for a whole long week is drenched in a cheerful festive spirit.
What is the La Tomatina Festival’s Timing?
The end of August marks a beginning to famous annual Spanish festival. This tomato throwing fiesta takes place on the last Wednesday of August each year. However, the celebrations begin from a week ahead before the main festival. There is all you can imagine that goes on in the week like music, dance, fireworks, wine, parades and so on.
On the day of the festival, the battle commences around 11 a.m. and goes on for precisely an hour. This one hour starts right after the sound of the first cannon and lets you do all you can do at La Tomatina festival including smashing, rubbing and bathing in tomatoes.
What are Some Rules and Regulations to Keep in Mind?
Nothing is to be thrown before the first starting gun goes off at 11 a.m.
Having said that, all activities must be stopped after the second gun at midday.
- Do not rip off anybody’s clothing. The guards are burly and they will have you chucked out of the event almost immediately.
- A strict ‘no selfie-stick’ rule is applied and if found anywhere even near you, it will be confiscated and thrown away from forever. Go pros are however allowed and widely used.
- It is illegal to bring any kind of bottles or other objects that could cause an accident.
- You will get a wrist band and you need to guard it with your life. If torn or lost, you will not be allowed to enter in.
- Ensure you keep a safe distance from the lorries.
- Squeeze the tomatoes thoroughly before throwing. It may severely hurt someone so it is a must to avoid the occasional tomato-related injury.
- Do not drink too much for you will be cramped in like sardines and the influence can cause you to lose control and balance, hurting yourself and others in the process.
Quick Tips That Will Come Handy:
- This is a ticketed event. Yes, that is true. It is to limit the number of people from over 50,000 to strictly 20,000. The tickets get snapped up pretty quick and you must book yours well in advance.
- Whatever you wear is certainly going to get destroyed. So make sure you pull out the clothes you wish to discard anyway and carry a change of clothes for the return journey.
- Do not miss the “palo-jabón’’. It is where a soapy pole needs to be climbed in order to snatch the ham and whoever is successful in doing so wins the ham.
- A snorkel and mask are worth taking to the festival. The tomato acid can cause the eyes to become sore and glasses can keep them protected.
- The shoes are a key element. While flip-flops are comfortable and can be easily discarded, they may be slippery and cause a havoc at the event. The streets are wet with tomato juices and you may encounter a great fall. Wearing shoes with a good grip is absolutely essential.
- Reach as early as you can to be able to be close to the tomato lorries. The crowd can put you away from the main area. However, it is as enthusiastic throughout the entire street.
The event has quickly become one of the major highlights on the country’s summer festivals calendar. Thousands of tourists flock to this little Valencian town for this frenzied event and you must not miss out on that either.
Booking an organised tour to La Tomatina is of paramount importance who will include tickets in their package. iTraveller brings to you customisable holiday packages for Spain that lets you enjoy the true essence of this commemoration. The detailed itinerary of our tour will take you through each day that covers all significant places to visit in Spain, activity options for adventure junkies and visits to the iconic Sagrada Familia and to the largest stadium in Europe. Get in touch with our travel experts and leave all your planning stress for them to deal with. Get best packages at the most affordable rates and enjoy a splendid holiday in Spain with your loved ones and of course, with tomatoes.