La Tomatina tomato festival
The origins of this mass tomato battle date back to a fight amongst children in 1945 and it has been celebrated every year since then.
The “Tomatina” is held on the last Wednesday in August in the town of Buñol. This unusual fiesta brings together crowds of people every year, ready to have a great time of laugher and fun, hurling tomatoes at each other. Participants at this joyful pitched battle have a wonderful time throwing tomatoes at anything that moves.
It gets underway at 9am, in the town square, with rolls and pastries provided for breakfast by the Town Hall. Little by little, the square fills with people. Before the battle, a huge pole is erected. It is covered with soap and has a leg of ham on the end. The most daring try to climb as high as possible to get their hands on the prize, to the general delight of onlookers. Meanwhile, buckets of water are launched from balconies, soaking the people as they prepare for battle. At 11 o’clock a shot is fired to announce the start of the fight, and from the end of the street, the first truckload of “ammunition” appears, sounding its horn. Those riding on board the truck throw the first tomatoes. Finally, the vehicle stops and unloads its cargo, and the crowd rushes forward to stock up on “bullets”. Within a few seconds, everything turns red. Trucks loaded with tomatoes arrive one after another, until a second shot is fired signalling the end of the battle. Now comes the difficult task of washing down the brave participants with hoses – they are already thinking of next years “Tomatina”.
- Buñol (Valencia)
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