Your Guide to La Tomatina: Spain’s Tomato-Fighting Festival

La Tomatina is an exciting Spanish festival celebrated in a town called Valencia in Bunol, Spain, located 30 km from the Mediterranean Sea. It is a fun-filled festival that involves participants throwing tomatoes at each other. The tomato fight festival lasts for a week and begins on the last Wednesday in the month of August.

What happens in the La Tomatina festival?

La Tomatina -  Spain's tomato fighting festival

Tomatina begins at 10 am and the very first event is a very trick one that involves climbing a greased pole that has a piece of ham placed on top of it. People start making attempts to grab the ham. While it happens, frenzy atmosphere springs into action as people start singing and dancing when water is showered on them through hoses.

When someone manages to grab the ham placed on top of the pole, tomato fight begins at 11 am and water is continuously showered on the people. Trucks filled with tons of tomatoes make their entry.

The tomatoes that are used for tomato fight are purchased from Extermadura, an autonomous community of Spain, where tomatoes are purchased in huge bulk at cheap price. At Exteradura, tomatoes are specially grown for Tomatina.

When you participate in the Tomatina fest, it is advisable to wear protective glasses and gloves. To avoid injury, participants must crush the tomatoes before throwing at each other. More than 40 metric tons of tomatoes are used for the tomato fight. After an hour, the fight is brought to an end by sounding the second signal. By this time, the whole town is drenched with tomato juice. Red colored rivers can be seen all throughout the city.

How do they clean up after the tomato fight?

After this, fire trucks make their entry for cleaning the streets of the town. People wash off their bodies laden with tomato paste by using hoses provided by the locals or by taking a bath at the los penones pool. Thanks to the acidity of the tomato juice, the streets are cleansed and disinfected thoroughly.

Similar festivals in other places

La Tomatina has become so famous that many cities across the world have been inspired by them and have started their own version of the festival. Some of the cities that also host Tomatina include San Jose in Costa Rica and Dongguan town in China.

Like any other festival, if you want to visit Valencia for the tomato-throwing festival, make sure you are well prepared to participate in the festival. Book your flight tickets and hotel two or three months in advance to enjoy the Tomatina to the fullest.