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The Adventures of La Tomatina

The Adventures of La Tomatina

Have you ever pictured, or had a hand in, a food fight in your school cafeteria? If not, imagine that, but add about 19,000 more people, and tomatoes on every inch of you and your surroundings. Now you got yourself the biggest food fight ever known – the La Tomatina Festival. For the last seven decades, the town of Buñol, Spain and its residents, native and foreign, participate in this celebration. If you choose to take adventure into your own hands and travel Globally Abroad, you could be the next to be covered in all-things tomato juice in the beautiful country that is Spain.

There have been a handful of different stories shared on the history of how this festival ensued. From a festive concert of raging dancers causing a musician to fall off the stage into a market stall of fruit and vegetables, and spectators chucking produce everywhere; to a simple street altercation beginning due to an individual in a neighboring market kiosk hurling vegetables randomly. Though the true history-creating event may never be established, every year after, the food fight’s entertaining and effervescent custom persevered every last Wednesday of August.

Come the dog days of summer, August 30th of 2020 will be the 75th anniversary! Every year there are more and more people booking trips to Spain to be part of the high-spirited ultimate food fight. Not only will you experience the literal flight of about 150,000 tomatoes – that’s roughly 44.1 tons – for an hour; there will also be massive parades, fireworks, and a Paella (famous Spanish dish) cooking competition the week before.

But with festivities, comes rules. If you want to join in on the fun, you must adhere to the following regulations first. It is illegal to bring any bottles or other items that could cause an accident. Before throwing commences, the tomatoes must be smashed. You must not tear any article of clothing during the festival, and you must stop heaving your supply of tomatoes once the second “banger” (loud explosive firework) cracks. These are all merely to ensure the safety of everyone participating. Other than that, the festival should include nothing but tomfoolery and celebration.

Some tips and interesting traditions that come with this festival are vital to know before getting involved. Did you know that the morning of La Tomatina, at 10AM on the dot in the town square called the Palo Jabón, the festivities begin with a ham laying atop a greased pole? People participating have to climb up the pole and retrieve the ham while fighting against the slippery, soaped-up pole. Think you could be the one to accomplish that and begin the celebrations?

After the second banger sounds, firefighters wash the streets and individuals down with hoses. Thanks to the natural acidity of tomatoes, it is actually a disinfectant so after everything and everyone is washed off, the village roads and participants’ skin becomes a revitalized radiance! If you found any spark of interest in this unique escapade, I suggest you delve deeper into some pointers from an individual who has already faced the adventures of La Tomatina head on.

Article was written by Rebekah Mamola

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