La Tomatina is celebrated on the last Wednesday of August every year in the town of Buñol near Valencia in Spain and this year, it falls on August 31. It is a food fight festival enjoyed by thousands of people, and is the world’s biggest food fight! Until 2013, about 40,000 to 50,000 people would visit the town for the tomato fight. However, since then, official ticketing has been put in place, limiting the number of people to 20,000.
History of La Tomatina
It is believed that La Tomatina started as a joke in 1945 during a parade of Giants and Bigheads. A few local youths decided to partake in the parade but this angered some party members. This resulted in a small dispute near a vegetable stand that led to a tomato fight between those involved. The police arrived on the scene to put an end to the dispute. This fight was repeated in the years that followed, drawing in bigger crowds and requiring the authorities to step in. The event became so popular that the City Council had to take over in 1980. Now it attracts thousands of tourists of all nationalities, making it a festival with a huge international impact.
Surprisingly, the festival was banned in the early 1950s by authorities as they did not find it amusing. It had no religious importance and there were many complaints filed by the older population of the town. The ban was lifted but in 1957, it was banned again. In August 1957, to protest against the ban, a ‘tomato burial’ was held in the town. A coffin filled with tomatoes was carried while musicians played somber music. Moved by the unity of the young people in the town, the prime minister declared La Tomatina an official festival.
Today it is a much-celebrated event, so much so that it is broadcast live on T.V. It was even declared the Festivity of International Tourist Interest in 2002 by the Secretary of the Department of Tourism.
La Tomatina timeline
Local youths anger party members by partaking in a parade of Giants and Bigheads and a dispute ensues near a vegetable stand, leading to a tomato fight.
The event is banned twice as it has no religious importance and is protested by the older population of the town.
The tomato fight becomes so popular that people repeat it each successive year, and in 1980 the City Council takes over.
As the number of people attending La Tomatina increases every year, it is declared the Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary of the Department of Tourism.
La Tomatina FAQs
Why is La Tomatina celebrated?
La Tomatina is believed to have started as a result of a fight between youths and party members at a Giants and Bigheads parade that ended in a tomato fight.
Why was it banned?
It was banned by the local authorities for having no religious significance.
Does it not result in food wastage?
Tomatoes used for the La Tomatina are overripe and of low quality, which makes them inedible. These tomatoes are unfit for sale by European regulators.
La Tomatina Activities
Squash some tomatoes
Squash some tomatoes and cook something delicious. Or, if you’re so inclined, just play with them!
Have a food fight
Get energized and be ready to have a fun food fight! There’s nothing better than letting loose and getting dirty!
Enjoy tomatoes with loved ones
Learn new recipes using tomatoes. You can even grow your own tomato plant at home and enjoy freshly picked tomatoes.
5 Fun Facts About La Tomatina
It’s the largest food festival
It is the largest food festival — 20,000 people participate in it.
Buñol does not grow tomatoes
There are no tomatoes grown in Buñol, but they are transported there from all over Spain for the festival.
The streets are cleaned afterward
After the festival, fire trucks take over and quickly clean the streets.
Low-quality produce is used
Tomatoes used for the fight are overripe and of low quality.
The festival has a Google Doodle
The festival has its own Google Doodle and Google also marks the day with a banner.
Why We Love La Tomatina
It celebrates tomatoes
This day celebrates tomatoes and their benefits. While we enjoy their sweet and tangy taste, tomatoes are also good for our health and have antibacterial properties for the skin.
It brings people together
People from all over the world visit Spain for the festival. It is a celebration of people from different cultures and religions enjoying themselves together.
It is a day of joy
It is a day of joy and happiness. People can have lots of fun together and forget their troubles.
La Tomatina dates