World’s Largest Tomato Fight: La Tomatina

Imagine thousands and thousands of spirited people all gathered at the same time within the streets of a very small town.  That is exactly what happens on the last Wednesday of August every year in the small town of Buñol, Spain.

For what?

Well, it’s probably NOT what you are thinking.  It’s not a huge concert, nor a gathering to see a famous person.

What does take place there is the largest tomato fight in the world.  We are talking 240,000 POUNDS OF TOMATOES!!

Why?

The history of this tomato fight goes all the way back to 1945.  Some say it started because that year there was a huge parade of figures with enormous heads.  Some kids tried to join the parade, but ended up knocking over one of the giants instead.  He got up angrily and started fighting with everyone in sight.

In order to defend themselves, the kids grabbed vegetables from a nearby vegetable stand and started throwing vegetables until someone came to break up the fight.  The next year on the same day, the kids returned with their own tomatoes in hand and started a fight.  And on went the tradition.

 

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The last Wednesday of August 2014, I had one mission in mind: The Tomatina

My checklist:

  • Swim suit
  • Googles
  • Close toed shoes
  • Water proof camera
  • Debit card
  • Tomatina entrance ticket (10 euros)

In order to get the real taste of the party it is suggested to arrive on Tuesday night.  Upon arriving in the city you heard the people laughing, talking and carrying on. You smelled from a mile away dinner, baked bread and home made desserts.

The streets were lined with tables as hundreds of people gathered together preparing for the coming morning.  Musicians were positioned in different parts of the streets and people danced and sang.  There were people of all types, some who went to the extra work of standing out by wearing crazy costumes.
The crazy party lasted all night long
[cml_media_alt id='571']Tomatina, tomato fight, Brunel Valencia Spain Truck delivering tomatoes. Laugher and fun, hurling tomatoes Bunol Bunol[/cml_media_alt]
On Wednesday at 10:00 am, the people are gathered together and the first event started: the climbing of a greasy pole (aka: palo jabon).  The goal is to climb to the top of this pole and pull the pork off of it. The people tried with all of their drunken strength to push people up over their head, and then the next person over the next person’s head, until the pork is reached.
It was NOT as simple as it seemed.

[cml_media_alt id='564']This took FOREVER! [/cml_media_alt]

 

As soon as someone got to the top of the pole and the pork was pulled off, the tomato fight began.  Huge trucks full of tomatoes drove by while the people in the trucks threw out the tomatoes as fast as they could.  The tomatoes must be broken in half before they are thrown to reduce the chance of hurting someone.

The trucks passed by and then the people had a big tomato fight in the street for one hour.  At 12:00 noon, the fight is officially over and the party carried on in another place.
The party lasted through the tomato fight and long after.  I was dirtier than I had ever been in my life and my hair was filled with chunks of tomatoes.

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Was it worth it for only a one hour tomato fight?
 .
YES, YES, YES!!
 .
The cool people I met there and being apart of such an amazing cultural event made La Tomatina a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Another item marked off my ultimate bucket list!
Don’t forget to also read: 
Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comWorld’s Largest Tomato Fight: La Tomatina