Published On: Tue, Aug 27th, 2019

La Tomatina festival Spain 2019: Why is La Tomatina celebrated? | World | News

La Tomatina is a festival held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in the east of Spain which sees crowds gather to throw tomatoes at one another. It has been held each year on the last Wednesday of August since 1945. In 2015, it was estimated that almost 145,000kg of tomatoes were thrown during the festival. So why is La Tomatina celebrated?

When did La Tomatina begin?

La Tomatina first began on the last Wednesday of August in 1945.

It started after some young people spend time in the town of Buñol attending the Giants and Bigs-Heads figures parade.

The young boys decided to take part in a parade with musicians, Giants and Big-Heads figures but during the course of the festivativites one participant’s big head fell off.

The participant then flew into a fit of rage and began hitting everything in his path.

There was a market stall of vegetables which fell victim to the fury of the crowd and led to people throwing tomatoes at one another – leading to the beginning of the world’s largest food fight.

The next year, some young people engaged in a pre-arranged fight and brought their own tomatoes from home.

Although the police broke it up on this occasion, it began the yearly tradition.

The festival was banned in the early 1950s, but it did not stop the food fight participants who threw tomatoes but were later arrested.

The event was cancelled until 1957 when, as a sign of protest, the tomato burial was held, which was a demonstration in which residents carried a coffin with a huge tomato inside.

The parade was accompanied by a music band who played funeral marches.

The protest proved successful and it was named an official festival.

Since that time, the festival has reached international acclaim and in 2002, La Tomatina of Buñol was declared Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary Department of Tourism due to its success.

Usually, the fight lasts for about one hour, after which the town square is covered with tomato debris.

After which time, fire trucks are dispatched to hose down the streets, while some participants visit the “Los Peñones” pool to wash.

The citric acid in the tomatoes leads to the washed surfaces in the town becoming very clean.

It has inspired similar celebrations around the world such as:

  • A tomato fight held in the town of Twin Lakes, Lake County, Colorado called the “Colorado Texas Tomato War,” in which Texans and Coloradans square off.
  • A local Tomato fair is held in the town of San José de Trojas in Costa Rica.
  • A tomato fight is held on October 19 in Dongguan in southern Guangdong province in China, during which they use up to 15 tons of tomatoes.
  • The City of Reno, Nevada in the United States has an annual hour-long tomato fight that started in 2009 and is organized by the American Cancer Society.

The event has been exclusively open to ticket holders since 2013.

This year the festival is taking place from August 26 to 30.

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