When: Last Wednesday of August
Where: Buñol, Valencia, Spain
About: La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in which participants throw tomatoes and get engaged in a tomato fights. The fight doesn’t involve any kind of combat technique but is totally for entertainment purpose.
There is no political or religious significance to La Tomatina, it’s just good, messy fun. Tens of thousands of participants show up from around the world where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Since 2013 official ticketing has been in place limiting the number of participants to just 20,000 lucky people. There is limited accommodation for people who come to La Tomatina, so many people take the easier option of staying in nearby Valencia just 38 km to Buñol by bus or train.
A ham is placed upon a Cockaigne pole (a large, greased pole), and the tomato fight can begin only when someone is able to climb to the top and bring it down. People struggle against each other, climbing atop one another, in order to be the one to pull down the ham. With this victory, the tomato-throwing begins. At around 11 am many trucks haul the bounty of tomatoes into the center of the town, Plaza Del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive. The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of water cannons, and the chaos begins. Usually the fight last for an hour, after which the town square is totally covered with tomatoes. Fire trucks then hose down the participants and streets to clean them. The citric acid in tomatoes helps cleaning the streets which obviously is a very good thing.
History: It all started in the giants and big-head figures parade in 1945, when a young boy started hitting everybody with vegetables. This led to vegetable fights every following year and became the great LA TOMATINA festival of Spain. In 2002, La Tomatina of Buñol was declared Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary Department of Tourism due to its success.