La Tomatina, a live ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’

By Sergio González | 10:18

La Tomatina

There two major Spanish festivals during the summer -one to welcome it, one to say it goodbye- perfect if you are in your twenties or just turned 30 and need to shake it out.

Sanfermines is still taking place and it’s the place to be right now until next weekend. For La Tomatina you must wait until the last Wednesday of August.

La Tomatina of Buñol it’s just a plain crazy tomato fight. The revolting tomatoes from the 70s cult film ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ are little lambs compared to what to expect in La Tomatina. It’s a good food fight gone bad, like really really bad.

We all know we are supposed to throw tomatoes at the stage if we don’t like a play -tons of hours watching cartoons in the 90s taught us well- but it’s neater to just tweet about it. However, if you are in Buñol -a small village close to the Mediterranean coast- and it is 1945, you keep it old school.

Among the many tales that explain the origins of this tomato fight, and that help to keep the tradition alive, a group of youngsters started it all when they were refused from Gigantes y Cabezudos, a very traditional and loved pageant in every Spanish city’s local festivities. It’s like taking away harvest queen’s crown, pretty serious staff.

These guys wanted some form of avengement and destiny placed a vegetables stall on their way. The fight was soon ended by the police and the avengers charged to pay for the damage.

The following year they brought their own tomatoes from home. Same result, but a tradition had been established.

However, La Tomatina faced very hard beginnings and it was banned repeated times because people simply didn’t care and they kept on holding it every year. Eventually, the authorities gave up in 1957.

La Tomatina starts around 10 am, after somebody finally gets to climb to the top of a greasy pole and pick up a ham. Meanwhile, the future tomato warriors are drinking, dancing and throwing water, getting ready for the frenzy that is about to start.

Trucks loaded with 150,000 tomatoes (100,000 kilos according to town hall) start coming towards Buñol’s main square. Excitements grows as they unload ‘the weapons’.

La Tomatina

These are a special kind of tomatoes specially grown for the occasion with no taste and softer skin but you must smash them before throwing aiming at your friends or whoever. Hitting on somebody with a tomato it’s a totally acceptable ice-breaker in La Tomatina. Wearing some scuba mask won’t hurt, though.

During one hour, the biggest food fight in the world floods everything with tomato puree and adrenaline. You’ll have one of the craziest and most liberating moments ever, but be careful, Buñol is full of narrow streets and you might be walking into an ambush.

Right after a shot in the air lets everybody know it’s over, the cleaning starts. Neighbors pull out hundreds of hoses to clean up their village and the fighters all together. Local swimming pools are a good option too.

Tomato is a common ingredient in homemade skin treatments so you’ll also look astounding and fresh afterwards but it works wonders on stone too and Buñol looks like just coming out of a spa.

La Tomatina

To really feel chilled and relaxed -every honorable warrior deserves a proper rest- check out our spas in Valencia. Did we mention La Tomatina’s party goes on until sunrise? Our beds are very comfortable and our anti-ox breakfast and late check-out are perfect to help you feel brand new!

Actually La Tomatina is such a great party that it’s simply too much. In 2012, more than 50,000 people came to the party and Buñol is just a small village that can’t handle such crowds. City hall plans on reducing this figure to around 20,000 by charging 10 euros (a fee agreed by the people) for a place in the fight. 15,000 tickets are sold online on their web site, 5,000 in town and a couple more are given free for the neighbors.

Photo credit: flydime


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