La Tomatina is a food fight festival that is generally usually conducted on the last Wednesday of August every year. This festival is held in the town of Bunol, which is near Valencia, Spain.
A huge number of crowds from different parts of the earth take part in this World’s largest food fight festival. In this food fight festival, more than one hundred metric tons of ripe tomatoes are thrown on the streets of the town.
according to some reports, before 2023 around 50,000 people crammed into this biggest food fight festival in Spain. Bunol generally has a population of 9,000 people. But, from 2023 the organizing committee has planned of offering official tickets to reduce the number of participants in this food fight festival. They have planned to offer these tickets to only 20,000 lucky people.
According to some research, yet not clear, it is told that this festival was started in 1945 when a group of young people have taken part in a parade with floats and bands. a few years back, during the parade, a fight was taken place and then people started to throw the over-ripe tomatoes at each other until police intervened.
In the next year, these people again repeated the event, but now they brought their tomatoes from their homes. usually, the throwing of tomatoes starts at 11 am and lasts for one hour.
So, if you are interested to join this Spanish tomato fight festival then you are on the right path. Here, in this article, we are going to provide all possible information about this festival. So, stay tuned!
Table of Contents
The Origins of La Tomatina Festival:
La Tomatina festival is held each year on the last Wednesday of August in Bunol, Valencia. Since it was started in 1945, the festival has grown to become one of the most popular festivals in Spain. various tourists from different corners of the earth also take part in this festival.
the origins of the La Tomatina festival are yet not clear. According to some reports, the festival took place in the town of Bunol, Spain in 1945 when a group of young people decided to join a parade with floats and bands. The parade was taking place with musicians, giants, and bigger heads, including young people. During the parade, a fight was taken place when people started to throw tomatoes at each other until the police intervened. In the next year, the same people repeated the event and this was the beginning of the La Tomatina festival.
Since then the tradition is being continued and the festival is becoming more and more popular with time. Now, thousands of visitors outside Spain are curious to join the event and experience the fun.
Another story is that it all started with the locals celebrating the end of the tomato harvest. Another theory is that it is a way that the young people take to protest against the government or a political figure. Despite of its origin, nowadays, la Tomatina has become an iconic and much-loved event for anyone visiting Spain.
How is La Tomatina celebrated?
There are only a few things to do in Bunol, every year this small town of Spain comes to its life in August when the la Tomatina festival takes place. The tomato throwing still continues for a few years from 1945 till it was banned in the early 1950s.
The festival again started in 1957 when enough locals and others protested in favour of La Tomatina festival. Now there is a limit on tickets to reduce the number of participants in the event. The limit of the tickets is now a maximum of twenty-two thousand.
The festival starts earlier with people arriving in Bunol by trains and busses. At 10 am in the town’s main square, Plaza del Pueblo, a pre-battle ritual known as el palo jabon, takes place.
In this ritual a ham is hoisted at the top of a pole slicked with soap and people try to climb up and also try to pull it down. The massive food fight begins at 11 am. Many huge trucks overload over-ripe ttomatoes and begin to dump the fruits on the streets. The kickoff is made with a booming water canon signal.
the premise is simple and during the next one hour, you can scoop up as many as tomatoes and throw them to the fellow festivalgoers. But the only rule is that you need to squash the ripe tomatoes before hurling them.
The end mark is also marked with another booming signal. then the tomato-soaked crowd queue up to shower off. At last, the Firefighters come in the place to Hose down the streets and in less than one hour they turn the streets back to normal.
Still, the party and entertainment is continued till the afternoon and you can have a lot of fun with music, dancing, and various sangria will be served in plazas around the town.
Participating in La Tomatina fight festival:
The Bunol festival is going to be held on 30th August this year between 11 am to 1pm. So, if you are interested to join in this event from the UK then you must consider the following few rules:
- You must not bring any hard objects or bottles as these items can cause an accident and hurt other participants.
- You should not tear other people’s T-shirts.
- You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them to your fellow festivalgoers as it will reduce the chances of accidents.
- You must maintain a distance from the trucks.
- as soon as you hear the booming signal, you must stop throwing tomatoes immediately.
What to wear in La Tomatina fight festival:
People who have attended la Tomatina fight festival in previous years have the answer very clear. But the people who are going to join this festival for the first time can get stressed about their wearing. So, don’t think much about it. Here, we are providing few tips that you can follow.
The main aspect of clothing is that it has to be most comfortable, so it lets you move confidently without any trouble. You also look for the clothes that you are not planning to use anymore. You can wear old clothes that fit you well. Also, you can wear a tight-fitting swimsuit.
There is more chances to get lost, damaged, or ripped off your clothes during the event. You should wear a bathing suit underneath as many fellow festivalgoers have the tendency to ripe other’s cloth, so you need to be sure there in something underneath your cloth.
You must wear slip resistant shoes and also pick the shoes that comes with grip for the most comfort. You should wear old shoes that you can easily throw away afterwards. Don’t wear any sandals.
Also, you can wear goggles to protect your eyes from tomato acidity.
Some other useful advice for the first-time attendees of the La Tomatina Fight festival:
- You can wear closed shoes that you can easily throw away afterwards. If you wear plip-flops then you can easily lose them during the battle and also you can get hurt by them.
- You must wear old clothes that you are planning to not wear again. There is more chance that your clothes will end up damaged from being ripped or incredibly dirty.
- If you like then you can go forward with your goggles. But you must keep something with you to wipe off your eyes if needed. Also, you can tuck your T-shirt into your jeans or shorts to ensure your bottom part is clear.
- If you are not from Bunol, then you must look for your accommodation first. It will be better if you pre-book your hotel for having a secure accommodation in advance.
- If you plan to click photos then you must bring waterproof cameras.
- You should not miss the Polojabon, it is a ritual of beginning the fight festival, where a Spanish ham will be at top of a greased pole. Whoever can climb the pole and get the ham can get it.
- Stay safe and enjoy the fun of the fight festival as much as possible.
How to obtain La Tomatina tickets?
Because of the massive crowd on the day and security concerns, the local council has decided to reduce the number of tickets of participants desiring to take part in the tomato fight festival.
So, you require to buy the tickets beforehand and very earlier as the stock of tickets seems to be sold out very quickly. Here, we are providing some websites to purchase tickets.
If you become unable to get the ticket still you can enjoy the fun of week-long festivals and explore the town. It means that you only can not take part of having fun in the one-hour tomato fight. You can find various tourists will be in the same position as you. You can still have the fun of parties in areas around the town.
How to get to La Tomatina?
Bunol is situated around 40 Kilometers outside of Valencia. You can get there through 3 wars:
- Bus: You need to take buses #265a, #265b, and #2 from Valencia. You will reach Bunol within 50 to 60 minutes. Round trip tickets cost under 12 EUR.
- Drive: If you are planning to get to Bunol by driving yourself then you will require 40 minutes only. If you don’t want to rent a car yourself then you can try BlaBlaCar.
- Train: You can take train C3 from Valencia. The cost of tickets is around 8 EUR each way and it will take approximately one hour.
The Global Recognition of La Tomatina Fight Festival:
La Tomatina fight festival has achieved global recognition, and it draws visitors from every corner of the world. Crowds from various nationalities come Bunol and they form a diverse environment of cultural exchange.
La Tomatina fight festival is an uncommon celebration of tradition, culture, excitement, and a tremendous does of fun. The roots of this festival have blossomed into a seasonal event, and it is captivating the hearts of both locals and outside visitors.
During the event, the streets of Bunol converted into a battlefield of flying tomatoes. People leave behing any stress, barrier, and misunderstands between the fellow festivalgoers.
Laughter is filled in the air of the town, and people experience an unforgettable cherishable moment that stays in their heart for lifetime.
So, you just need to mark the upcoming date of the festival and don your protective gear to take part of this messy tomato fight festival. The fun of zest of life is waiting for you in August, so immerse yourself in the vibrant sea of red in the La Tomatina fight festival in Bunol, Spain.
Analysis the Socio-cultural impact of La Tomatina fight festival in Spain:
The tomato fight festival that is held in Spain comes with various socio-cultural impacts in Spain. First of all, Spain attracts numerous tourists from different parts of the world. Younger generation are more curious to take part in this event.
They are very much eager to meet new people and learn more about Spain ans Spanish culture. it is very true that the tourists who come to join this tomato festival they stays in the town for two or more days. They also visit some historical places of the town including the museum, parks, churches, and art gallery.
Also, the tourists visit some nearby places such as Valencia, it is the third largest city in Spin. They visit some of the very popular places of Valencia include the old Cathedral, the botanical garden, Palau de la Generalitat, Palacio de Cervelly, and more. Also, it is found that such small town as Bunol has not enough accommodation to provide hundred tourists.
So, the city Valencia provides the required accommodation to the remaining tourists. So, we can say that La Tomatina fight festival acts as an effective tool to promote tourism in Spain.
Further, there are some negative impact of la Tomatina fight festival in Spain. first of all, the festival is held in the basis of throwing tomatoes, so it may lead to serious injuries and traumas.
According to some report, there were many participants in the festival who get hurt during the event. Some suffered from hypothermia, some were suffered from anxiety attack, and some got bruising because of the tomatoes.
Secondly, the unethical and uncivilized behavior of the participants can be regarded as foolish activity because the grown-ups behaves like naughty children who forget about the hard work that is associated with the tomatoes. According to some social activist, this festival is immortal to destroy food for the sake of fun.
Environmental impact and sustainability of La Tomatina fight festival:
After ending up the La Tomatina fight festival, the squashed tomatoes are collected by a team. Once collected, then the waste is taken for reprocessing at an anaerobic digestion plant.
In this plant, the waste is reused to produce fertilizers for the local farms, and to power up the National Grid. The team focus on a fully closed loop procedure that ensures every particle of tomato wastage will be recycled to put to good use.
Are there any age restrictions for participants?
Ans: You must keep in mind that the pre La Tomatina party and afterward official party both will be hold in licensed venues and people are allowed to attend the festival of 18 years age or more. This is because of Spanish licensing laws.
Can I bring my own tomatoes to the festival?
Ans: There are several trucks that haul the bounty of tomatoes in the center of Bunol. They dump the tomatoes on the streets of the town. These tomatoes are brought from Extremandura, there the tomatoes are less expensive. There is no need to bring tomatoes with your own to the festival.
What happens to the tomatoes after the festival?
Ans: After one hour of the battle end up, no more tomatoes should be thrown. At this point, the cleaning process takes place and the fire trucks are used to spray down the street. The firetrucks also use water provided from a Roman aqueduct to clean the streets. Later, the tomatoes are recycled to form fertilizers applied on the farms.
How long does the tomato fight lasts?
Ans: Generally, the tomato battle lasts for one hour, after that the streets of Bunol is covered with tomato debris. Then the Firetrucks hose down the streets and also the participants use the hoses that are provided by the locals to remove the pulps of tomatoes from their body.
Is La Tomatina safe for participants?
Ans: The La Tomatina festival is inherently over-crowded, so it is considered as dangerous event. The participants often experience crazy behavior of their fellow festivalgoers. So, this festival is mainly for the adults. The authority has stated that all participants should join in La Tomatina tomato fight festival at their own choice and risks.
What other activities are there during the festival?
Ans: If you want to get the full experience of La Tomatina tomato fight festival then you must stay in Bunol to have the week-long fun. That is involving music, dance, fireworks, and parties. The night before La Tomatina fight festival, a paella cooking competition is held. In this occasion, women traditionally dress in white while the men in shirts altogether.
Are there any local attractions to visit in Bunol?
Ans: Bunol is surrounded by various natural places of great beauty containing water as a common element. Also, the town offers a series of historical places, monuments, and cultural interest all through its urban nucleus. Some of the local attractions of Bunol are Castillo de Bunol, Manantial de San Luis, Cueva Del Turche, Fast Bike Shop, Bunol en Rutas, and more.
How can I book accommodations for La Tomatina?
Ans: Bunol is a small town, so it does not have a large capacity to provide accommodation to a massive crowd. Also, during this festival people from different corners of the world visit this town. So, some people don’t get accommodation in Bunol taht is why they need to stay in Valencia. If you plan to visit Bunol’s La Tomatina then you can pre-book the accommodation through various online platform as earlier as possible.
Is Photography allowed during the tomato fight?
Ans: Photographing in La Tomatina fight festival is difficult. At first, you will be sink in the great fun and suddenly trucks will arrive on the streets of Bunol. You will be pushed and pelted from every direction by massive crowd. But still, if you want to click some photos then you should not bring any fancy camera instead you must bring one cheap, and waterproof camera to capture the moment. Also, you can bring one selfie stick to click selfies.
How can I stay clean during the tomato fight?
Ans: You can wear a comfortable t-shirt and a short for this La Tomatina fight festival. You need to tuck the t-shirt into the shorts so that the bottom part of your t-shirt remains clean during the festival. Thus, if such situation occurs, you can wipe off your face or other parts of your body using your t-shirt. Also, you can wash your body after the festival in the river of Bunol. The participants also cleans up their body with the hoses that the local residents provide them to clean their body.
Are there any health risks associated with La Tomatina?
Ans: Yes, according to some participants, the tomatoes that were brought to the festival are of poor quality, and these were unfit to consumption because of over-ripe. So, these tomatoes can cause eye irritation, redness, or puffiness. If your skin is more prone to allergies then you must avoid the fight of tomatoes. Also, according to some reports, there were things that happened during the festival such as injuries, and heat stroke. But there is no report of major injuries yet. You must follow the guidelines provided by the authority to avoid health risks associated with La Tomatina.
What are some alternative ways to experience La Tomatina without participating in the tomato fight?
Ans: There are also some other ways to have great fun without participating in the tomato fight. Afterwards the tomato fight several parties, music, dancing, parade, and fireworks are organized. So, you can join these activities to have a great fun without taking part in the La Tomatina food fight festival.
La Tomatina festival in Spain is one of the most popular events in the world. This tomato fight festival is a symbol of unity and friendship. However, this fun-filled festival can be considered as a weapon-free festival as the participants use tomatoes as their weapons in the battle. It is also an event where different nationalities and different beliefs take part to have great fun.
However, the festival has a great social, cultural, economical, and environmental influence in Spain. Although during this event, a few of participants get hurt or injured, So, the organizer of this festival very much concerned about this fact and initiated few guidelines for the participants. You must follow all the guidelines to avoid risks and injuries associated with La Tomatina fight festival.
Here, in this article, we have provided detailed information on the Spanish tomato fight festival. Hope, this article will be helpful to you to have a lifetime of fun with taking all the safety measures.