From Pamplona Bull Run to Haro Wine Festival, Spanish festivals are weird and among the most fun. The La Tomatina Festival is the most fun Spanish festival to attend. The largest food fight takes place at the end of August in the Valencian town of Buñol. Today we are going reveal 10 Fun Facts About The messy and colourful La Tomatina Festival…
1. The World’s Largest Food Fight
The Spanish festival, La Tomatina is the largest state-sanctioned food fight in the world. Every year approximately 40,000 enthusiasts participate in the festival in the little town of Buñol. The Mediterranean town has become very popular among tourists all thanks to the tomato fighting festival. And if you want to enjoy the tomato-throwing festival too, you have to plan it well. The fight only lasts for one hour. In 2020, it will be held on 26th August.
2. There Are Other Festivities Too
There are many other festivities leading up to the main event. Participants can enjoy parades, fireworks and paella which is a Valencian rice dish, cooking contest on the street of the town.
3. The Origin Of The Festival
It all started with a street fight. On the last Wednesday of August 1945 during the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade in the Town Square, a participant’s big head accidentally fell off. The participant started hitting everything in his path with anger. A market stall of vegetables had to bear the brunt of the crowd. The crowd started pelting each other with tomatoes. A group of boys who were present that day, organised a pre-planned tomato fight the following year. The festival took up pace and eventually became a tradition.
4. It Starts With A Slice Of Ham
Exactly at 10 am on the day, a slice of ham is hung on the top of a greasy pole in the town square called the ‘Palo jabón’. The crowd sings and encourage while some participant climbs and retrieve this slice of ham. When the ham slice is dropped from the pole, a loud alarm goes off, and the festival begins. One should be aware of the tomato-loaded trucks and also the alarms. The fighting ends with the second alarm and no one is allowed to throw tomatoes after that boom of a canon.
5. Over 40 metric tonnes of Specially Grown Tomatoes are used
During the fight around 150,000 tomatoes are squashed and thrown at friends and strangers. These tomatoes are low-quality and specially grown for the festival. They are grown in a beautiful tourist destination situated 570 km away from Bunol, named Extremadura.
6. When The Festival Caused A Soar In Tomato Price
The tomato battle often turns between males and females but it can also create some real feuds. In 2016, over 80% of the tomato crop in Nigeria was destroyed by the moth Tuta absoluta. Naturally, the price of tomatoes rose quite high, from $1.20 to $40 making Nigerians furious. This was the time of the La Tomatina Festival and the Nigerians thought it was a waste of the fruit and a little feud took place.
7. The Tomatoes Clean The Streets And The Participants
After the chaos ends, the firefighters wash the streets and people down with hoses. And after all the cleaning the street looks as clean as new. This happens because the acidity of the tomato act as a disinfectant. And this same reason also results in glowing skin for the participants. Tomatoes are high in potassium and vitamin C which means it has the power to restore the glow to your dull skin. But beware you don’t want the acids to touch your eyes that won’t be fun.
8. Recreations of La Tomatina
La Tomatina is hands down one of the best festivals in the world. You can always argue about the amount of food that can paint your entire city red going into waste, but still. And that’s why the festival has been recreated in other parts of the world such as Colombia, China, and Costa Rica. It was also recreated in Bangalore, India. But it attracted a lot of controversies and it was banned after being denounced as a “wastage of food.”.
9. Two Strict Rules
You know something is really famous or important when it gets acknowledged by the Internet giant Google. Google made a cute doodle dedicated to the festival in August 2015. But if you want to participate in the festival you have to follow two strict rules. One, throw only squashed tomatoes, two, do not throw anything other than a tomato as Katrina Kaif said in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
10. It Was Banned Once
The fun and colourful festival was banned once in the early ’50s because of many complaints about spreading a nuisance. Protesters held a tomato burial parade was held in August 1957. There was a coffin with a huge tomato and a music band playing funeral songs and people crying. The ban was revoked and the festival was announced as an official festival. Also, if you want to visit the town you have to buy tickets. This was started because the town’s population increases from just 9,000 to about 30,000 during the festival.
Have you ever been to the La Tomatina Festival? Would you like to see it banned as being a waste of food? Do let us know in the comments below.