La Tomatina, Festivals in Spain

La Tomatina is a festival in Spain that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol or Bunnyol, in which participants throw tomatoes at each other. La Tomatina is also popularly called the tomato fight festival. It is held on the last Wednesday in August, during the week of festivities of Buñol.

In this fight there are no winners, only fun. The rule and motto is simple: COME DRESSED TO WEAR TOMATO JUICE!! You just have to  throw those red ripe tomatoes at anyone that runs, moves, stays stills, bends down, or turns around , in short to anyone you can. But as in all games this carries its rules: You may ONLY use tomatoes, and you are to squish them before throwing them. Bottles, water bombs and the like are totally forbidden.

Some Tips to enjoy La Tomatina
  • Wear clothes that later you throw away as you will never get it clean again!
  • Make sure you take a change of clothes for the return bus journey – there are some public showers in Bunyol near the river. You cannot enter the bus with the dirty clothes! (throw it away or bring a plastic bag with you if you want to keep it as a souvenir!)
  • Bring goggles (or protect your eyes but don´t wear glasses). Tomato on your eye can be really acid!
  • Wear shoes that have a decent grip.
Some Notes of Caution:
  • You must not throw anything (like bottles etc) other than Tomatos.
  • You must not tear clothes .
  • Tomatoes will be squashed before they will be thrown in order not to hurt any person.
  • Be careful with lorries going through the village.
  • When the second incendiary device will be fired, tomatoes will stop being thrown.
  • Try to have as much fun as you can but observe the rules and respect the people.
Some facts about La Tomatina:

    * Where it happens? Buñol , Valencia , Spain
    * When it happens? Every last Wednesday of August
    * Why it happens? To have fun!!!

History of the La Tomatina Festival in Spain:

In 1950, the council allowed the party to happen. The next year however it was not approved, thanks to pressure from town residents and other participants.

When the festival was finally officially sanctioned, the launching of tomatoes became inventive. Methods such as using water canons, catapults and filling of fountains of rivals became common. Between the noise and chaos, participants typically primed with those who were mere spectators, including local personalities. By 1957 the festival was once again banned with strict penalties, including imprisonment, threatened against those flouting the ban. In that year, the neighborhood decided to organize what they called "the funeral of the tomato", which came in a procession carrying a coffin with a great tomato, accompanied by a band playing funeral marches along the path.

Due to local pressure, in 1959 the town finally approved the Tomatina, but imposed a rule that people could only throw tomatoes after a horn sounded and should end when it sounded a second time.

Between 1975 and 1980 the festival was organized by the ordeal of San Luis Bertran, who supplied the tomatoes, replacing the previous arrangement of participants bringing their own. The party became popular in Spain thanks to Javier Basilio reporting the issue in the RTVE Informe Semanal in 1983.

Since 1980 the City Council provides participants with tomatoes, each year a greater tonnage than the previous year. Visitors became attracted to the event and in 2002 it was declared a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest. In 2008 a soundtrack was created, the song of the Tomatina "Todo es del mismo color" created by the bunyolense rock band "Malsujeto".

About the La Tomatina Festival in Spain:

At around 10am festivities begin with the first event of the Tomatina. It is the "palo jabón", similar to the greasy pole. The goal is to climb a greased pole with a ham on top. As this happens, the revellers work into a frenzy of singing and dancing whilst being showered in water from hoses. Once someone is able to drop the ham off the pole, the start signal for the tomato fight is given. The signal for the onset is at about 11 when a loud shot rings out, and the chaos begins.

Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste. For the participants the use of goggles and gloves are recommended. The tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown so as to reduce the risk of injury.

After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is coloured red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely. Fire Trucks hose down the streets and participants use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomato paste from their bodies. Some participants go to the pool of “los peñones” to wash. After the cleaning, the village cobblestone streets are pristine due to the acidity of the tomato disinfecting and thoroughly cleaning the surfaces.

The tips are taken from the official site of this festival.

The History part is taken from Wikipedia and the photos are collected from net and are linked to the original source.

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