8 Awesome Facts about La Tomatina Festival in Spain
Take the world and paint it red! Every Indian after watching the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” has wished to do exactly that. Attending the La Tomatina Festival in Spain has been an item on almost everyone’s bucket list.
For those who don’t know what La Tomatina is, it’s the world’s largest food fight which happens on the last Wednesday of August each year. It happens in a small town near Valencia called Buñol in Spain. As the name suggests, the occasion involves a lot of tomatoes! Hundreds and hundreds of people gather here and throw over-ripe tomatoes at each other. This festival just proves how crazy and quirky Spanish festivals can be!
You might wonder why are we so hyped up about it. Well, here’s 10 awesome facts about the La Tomatina Festival that will get you hyped up too
1. World’s Largest Food Fight
Like mentioned before, it’s the WORLD’S LARGEST FOOD FIGHT, you guys! Have you never wished to be in a food fight even once in your life? Well, you should. La Tomatina will not only leave your clothes blushing, but also your face red as you have a jolly tomato-fight with some of the coolest people.
2. The Beginning
Strange but the beginning of La Tomatina involves a slice of ham. It is hung on the top of a greasy pole and the courageous ones have to retrieve it while the crowd chants and cheers for them and while being showered by water hoses. Difficult task to achieve, isn’t it? But the Spaniards achieve it in a jiffy. Once the ham is knocked off the pole, a loud shout rings out to start the fight and the tomatoes begin to fly!
Legend has it that in 1945, a fight broke out during a parade in Buñol. Because of the abundance of tomatoes in this region, the fighters picked up these vegetables and hurled them at each with great zeal. The holiday was banned in the Spanish State period under Francisco Franco for having no religious significance, but returned in the 1970s after his demise. And thank god it did!
4. Over 160 tonnes of tomatoes is used
In 2016, over 160 tonnes of tomatoes was used over a span of one hour of the festival! Pretty sure, the numbers of tomatoes meeting their fates will increase this year.
5. No reason to be upset though
If you’re wondering about the wastage of tomatoes that occurs every year during the festival, you needn’t be. The tomatoes used are low- quality, inferior in taste and come cheap from a place called Extremadura. The festival makes the most of out of the wasted tomatoes!
6. The festival honors two patron saints
Yes, this wacky festival of throwing tomatoes all across the town honors the town's patron saints, Luis Bertran and the Mare de Deu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary.
7. Tomatoes- the disinfectant
After the fight comes to an end, the fire trucks hose down the streets and buildings. Tomatoes act as the disinfectant and makes the streets of Buñol one of the cleanest in the world. Even the participants feel refreshed after washing themselves off the tomato juice.
8. Sad Fact- Limited entry to the festival
Prior to 2013 anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 (reported to be 50,000 in 2012) people crammed into this huge tomato fight, greatly expanding Bunol's normal 9,000 person population. Since 2013 official ticketing has been in place limiting the number of participants to just 22,000 lucky people. (Psst.. there’s still time to book your trip, trust us)
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