The Story of La Tomatina – The Famous Tomato Fight Festival of Spain

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“Rosy is colour I am when you cook in a frying pan

I am so juicy with lots of seeds and cater to your health needs

You can make a salad with me, or use me between toast

You can make juice from me, or toss me with some roast”

Well, this is a tomato rhyme, that we all have grown up singing. But do you know that tomatoes are scientifically categorized as fruits (and not vegetables) because they contain seeds and develop from the ovary? Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C, so eating tomatoes is good for health.

Ready for a Tomato Fight?

The festival of La Tomatina, celebrated every year in the city of Buñol, in Spain is considered the world’s biggest vegetable fight.

How did the festival of La Tomatina originate?

This is an interesting story. In the city of Buñol, in Spain on the last Wednesday of August in 1945, a few young people went to the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade. In their excitement, they did not realize when they bumped against one of the participants, who fell on a heap of tomatoes, selling alongside the road. The participant got angry and started throwing tomatoes on the group of these young men. Soon the crowd started throwing tomatoes at each other until the police came to end the fight.

The Next year and many years after that, people used to bring tomatoes from home and knowingly picked up a fight during the parade and used to throw tomatoes on the crowd. Slowly they started liking the tomato fight, and that’s how La Tomatina started being celebrated as a festival.

La Tomatina was banned in the early ’50s

The festival was finally banned in the early ’50s. But by then people had developed a liking for this festival, which was full of energy. So, the city officials allowed the people to participate in the festival in 1957.

Where do the tomatoes come from?

Interestingly, the city of Buñol does not grow any tomatoes. For the festival, tomatoes are specially grown in Extremadura, a beautiful tourist destination situated 570 km away from Buñol. About 150,0000 Kg of tomatoes, just for an hour’s flight. 

La Tomatina comes with many more events

There are a lot of events that start a week before the last Wednesday of August. Parades, fireworks, music, dancing and the exciting cooking contest called paella cook-off contest.

How popular is the festival of La Tomatina?

The festival is so popular, that on the day of La Tomatina, Buñol’s population swells from just 9,000 to about 30,000.

La Tomatina rules

There some rules of the tomato fight because without rules it may take a dangerous shape. For the festival, people wear clothes that they would not mind throwing away, and there are rules for the fight that people follow with discipline.

Rule No 1 is the tomatoes have to be squashed before throwing to avoid injuries.

Rule No 2 says, only tomatoes should be thrown during the fight, nothing else.

Rule No 3, says, participants should make way for the tomato loaded trucks and lorries

And Rule number 4 says, as the bell rings, to end the fight, no more tomatoes should be thrown after that.

People above the age of 18 years can participate in the festival, and they should have bought the festival tickets, which cost about 10 euros.

The ham stick of La Tomatina

A delicious Spanish ham stick is hung on the top of a greasy wooden pole which is about two stories high. Some enthusiastic man has to climb that greasy pole and get back the ham, to officially start the festival of La Tomatina.

The city looks much cleaner

After the fight is over the city is washed with the fire trucks, carrying the big hose pipes, and the city looks much cleaner than before. It’s because the tomatoes are acidic so they pull the dirt off.

Let’s keep the spirit of La Tomatina alive

La Tomatina is a festival of happiness, friendship and energy. This year though the festival of La Tomatina is cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic, let’s keep the spirit of La Tomatina alive, and let’s look forward to the festivity next year with even higher spirits and happiness.

If you want to know more about La Tomatina, visit our website www.makemegenius.com. There you will find La Tomatina Facts, Quiz, Facebook Profile picture frames and lot more. Don’t miss it.

We will meet again with the story of yet another festival soon.

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