Every year on the final Wednesday in August, the La Tomatina tomato fight in Buol, near Valencia, takes place, however, the partying begins earlier in the week.
The tomato fight, which takes place between 11 am and 1 pm on that day, is the festival’s centrepiece.
Thousands of people gather in this small Valencian town for this raucous event, which has become one of the highlights of Spain’s summer festival calendar.
La Tomatina has become a victim of its own success because of the large number of people who attend.
Because of the large crowds, getting anywhere near the central location where the tomato lorries arrive is exceedingly difficult, so you may find yourself a few streets away from the excitement.
Never mind; there are lots of other individuals in the same boat, and the street partying continues regardless of location.
History of La Tomatina, Spain
The origins of La Tomatina are unknown, however, there are various stories as to how Bunyol came to host the world’s largest tomato fight.
The most obvious explanation, however, dates back to 1945, when an annual parade of huge figures with large heads (Gigantes y Cabezudos) paraded through the streets of Bunyol.
It appears that some children attempted to join in the parade and accidentally knocked down one of the giants, who then rose to his feet and began swinging at everyone in the vicinity.
In revenge, the kids took tomatoes from a neighbouring vegetable stand and began tossing them at him until the cops arrived to put an end to it.
On the same final Wednesday in August the following year, these young people returned to the town hall square and began another tomato fight with their own tomatoes.
The police interfered once more, and the local council attempted to outlaw the ‘El Da de la Tomatina’ in succeeding years, but to no avail, as the event continued to grow year after year, eventually reaching the preposterous size it is now.
Tomatina Festival: Practical Information
Getting to Bunyol
The majority of youthful travellers stay in low-cost hotels in Valencia and then take the train to Bunyol for the day. Trains depart at eight minutes past the hour from Valencia Central Station, which is around 40 kilometres away, on the morning of the event.
There is no need to purchase tickets ahead of time, and the trip takes 50 minutes.
The real tomato fight lasts just over an hour, starting at 12 noon and ending shortly after 1 p.m. As a result, the trains at 8.08 am, 9.08 am, and 10.08 am will ensure that you arrive on time.
The earlier you arrive, the better, as trains might fill up quickly. You can also take the local bus or rent a car, but this is probably not a good idea given the mess you’ll be in after the tomato battle.
Where to Stay in Bunyol
Bunyol is a small community of about 9000 people that surges to 30,000 people during La Tomatina day.
The Hotel Condes de Buol is a charming little hotel in the town centre, but there isn’t much else around, so most budget travellers stay in a budget hostel or hotel in Valencia, which you’ll have to book well ahead of time.
Booking a Tomatina package with Stoke Travel is a popular choice among young people. This Barcelona-based travel service specialises in Tomatina festival party packages that include camping or hotel accommodations.
Another alternative is to go to La Granjita, small family-run camping in Chiva, about 10 kilometres north of Bunyol.
The tent, bed, bedding, and towels are all provided by the proprietors, as well as breakfast and an evening meal if desired. It also features a small pool, which is perfect for cooling off after the fiesta.
What to Wear at La Tomatina
Make sure you bring a change of clothes for the return train travel because anything you wear will be ruined.
We discovered that bringing a snorkel and mask was definitely worth it! After that, you can try to clean up in the public showers along the river, but they are usually crowded.
Until a few years ago, the Tomatina festival attracted a sizable but manageable crowd. In recent years, however, the festival has become a victim of its own success, with upwards of 50,000 people attempting to squeeze themselves into this little Valencian town, causing security worries.
About the tickets, we don’t have the exact information right now, but yes if we found somewhere we add it to our site.
Rules of La Tomatina
Despite the chaos, there are a few laws and regulations that must be followed during La Tomatina to ensure that the greatest amount of people have the best time possible. The Bunyol Town Council has established the following rules:
- Bringing any form of a bottle or another object that could cause an accident is prohibited.
- T-shirts must not be torn.
- Tomatoes must be smashed before being thrown so that no one is injured.
- You must be cautious to avoid tomato-carrying vehicles.
- Stop flinging tomatoes as soon as you hear the second banger.
Things You Must Know About La Tomatina
It all starts with ham
A jamón is hung on the top of a greasy pole in the busy town plaza at 10 a.m. on the day of La Tomatina. With the crowd screaming and singing encouragement, the goal is to be the first person to climb up the slippery pole and get the ham (all the while being drenched with water from hosepipes, for some reason). A loud signal goes off as soon as the ham is dislodged, the tomato trucks appear, and chaos ensues.
It’s a big deal for tourism
The one-hour tomato fight is such a great draw that it has turned Buol into one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. Because lodging in the town is limited and expensive, most visitors travel on overcrowded trains from Valencia.
Tomatoes keep you clean
Tomatoes are said to be a natural disinfectant, thus your skin will be cleansed of pollutants after La Tomatina. After the fighting, firefighters hosed down the streets – and people – leaving the town looking shockingly clean.
There are copycat festivals
The festival has been duplicated all over the world, with variations of it appearing in places as far apart as Colombia and China. An attempt to hold a similar tomato fight in Bangalore, India, sparked outrage due to the alleged “waste of tomatoes,” and the event was quickly prohibited.
It has its own Google Doodle
When something has its own Google Doodle, you know it’s important. The festival is even being commemorated by Google, which has erected a temporary banner in honour of La Tomatina.
It’s more than just tomatoes
La Tomatina is much more than a simple tomato brawl. Parades, fireworks, and paella cooking competitions fill the streets of the town in the week leading up to the major event.
DURING THE FESTIVAL
The first event, known as “El Palo Jabón,” begins at 10 a.m. at the town plaza, Plaza Del Pueblo, with the erection of a greased pole and the placement of Spanish ham (Jamon) on top. The contestants aim to reach the ham by climbing the pole.
After someone manages to get the chunk of meat at the top, the tomato struggle begins. The tomato fight, which starts when the horn sounds, is the festival’s centrepiece.
Several huge trucks, filled with tomatoes, drive into the square. Around 11 am, the fight generally begins. The violence begins when those atop the trucks start tossing tomatoes at those on the ground.
The siren sounds an hour later, signalling that the tomato war is over and no more tomatoes can be thrown. At that moment, everyone and everything is covered in tomato mush. The streets and the participants are washed down with large vehicles equipped with hoses.
La Tomatina Worksheets
This is an excellent bundle that covers everything you need to know about La Tomatina in 24 pages. These La Tomatina worksheets are ready to use and are ideal for teaching students about the La Tomatina, a food fight festival hosted in the Valencian town of Buol.
Every year on the final Wednesday of August, participants throw tomatoes and engage in a tomato fight solely for the purpose of amusement.
Buol is a town and municipality in the Valencian province of Spain, about 38 kilometres west of Valencia. Thousands of people go from all over the world to compete in the ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight.’
Thousands of people go to this small Valencian town for the filthy event, which has become one of the highlights of Spain’s summer festival calendar.
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