”If at some point you don’t ask yourself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ then you’re not doing it right.”
— Roland Gau
If you’re the kind of traveler that loves to soak in the culture of the places that you travel to, then you must definitely travel to the town of Bunol in Spain for La Tomatina festival and participate in the biggest food fight on the planet!
The origins of La Tomatina festival are not very clear, but it has been a strong tradition in Bunol since 1945. Possible theories include a local food fight among friends, a juvenile class war, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke on a bad musician, or the anarchic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage. Whatever be the reason, every year, thousands of people from all over the world travel to Bunol to fling over ripe tomatoes on complete strangers!
The festivities carry on for an entire week featuring music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. La Tomatina begins at 10 AM on the last Wednesday of August, only after one brave soul has managed to climb to the top of a two-storey high greased pole to reach the coveted ham on top.
Once the ham is dropped off the pole, the start signal for the tomato fight is given by firing the first water cannon into the air. Several trucks then drop over-ripe tomatoes into the center of the town and the fight begins!
The festival ends exactly an hour later with another water cannon being shot into the air. The streets, stained red with tomato juices, are then hosed down by fire trucks. Participants also use hoses provided by locals to wash off the Tomato juices. Interestingly, the acidity of the tomato juices leaves the cobblestone streets of the village pristine!
So if you’re planning your trip to Spain around La Tomatina festival, here are some rules to keep in mind so you can enjoy your experience!
- Do not bring bottles or hard objects as they can cause accidents and hurt other participants
- Do not rip other people’s T-shirts
- You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them as this reduces the impact
- Ensure you keep a safe distance from the lorries
- As soon as you hear the second shot, you must stop throwing tomatoes