What is La Tomatina

La Tomatina is worlds biggest vegetable or to be more precise, tomato fight in the world. Buñol, which is thirty miles from Valencia, Spain, is the town where this fight takes place every year in August.

The La Tomatina fight is the culmination of week long celebrations and festivities. The fight is held on the last Wednesday of August month, where all the participants, from all over the world, throw tomatoes at each other for fun. There is no religious or political significance for this fight; it is plain fun. The fight just lasts for 2 hours, starting at 11 am and till 1 pm.

In 1940s, what stated as a small tomato fight between friends has now grown into a big event which is extensively televised in Spain. After being held unofficially for many years, it was only in 1970s that the festival was organized by Los Clavarios de San Luis Bertrăn (San Luis Bertrăn is patron of Buñol town). The tomato fight is the last day of the summer festival which has fireworks, dancing, parades and parties. The streets of Buñol are full of activity a night before the fight. Tomatoes from all over Spain are collected. Early Wednesday morning, the day of the fight, shops lining the street are covered, in preparation for the mess.

Trucks carrying over- ripe tomatoes reach the square, Plaza del Pueblo and then official instigators start throwing the tomatoes on the crowd. Around 20,000 participants, dressed in old, torn clothes, retaliate and hurl tomatoes on each other. Within half an hour, the streets are all covered with tomato pulp, seeds. According to an estimate, around 90,000 pounds of tomatoes are used every year.

It may seem to be a messy fight with no clear rules but there are. Only when the water cannons are fired at the crowd, the fight starts. The participants have to squish the tomatoes before hurling them for safety reasons. Glass bottles, hard objects should not be carried.  Firing of water cannons again marks the end of the fight, after which people head towards Buñol river to wash themselves off. There are even makeshift public showers near the river.

Buñol is a small place with a population of just 9000 people but on the La Tomatina, the population almost triples. For accommodation of tourists, it is best to find a cheaper accommodation in Valencia and travel to Buñol in the morning of the fight. Such is the popularity of La Tomatina fight, that many such festivals and events are organized all over the world.