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La Tomatina :: Spain

December 1, 2009 by  
Category: Festivals


Are you ready for the craziest, messiest, most “off the chain” party in the world? Well pack your bags; you are going to Buñol, Spain for the annual La Tomatina tomato fight festival. Although its roots (no pun intended) are somewhat ambiguous, it is known that La Tomatina first started in the mid-1940s and had spread from a few hundred revelers to thousands every year. Part of a week long festival honoring the town’s patron saints (St. Louis Bertrand and the Virgin Mary), La Tomatina is a wickedly fun slosh around adventure you do not want to miss. Held the last Wednesday of August (the peak of tomato season) you can expect a warm Spanish sun, copious amounts of Sangria flowing, and the hysterical sight of over 150,000 tomatoes flying through the air.

After a morning of sweet wine and delicious tapas, partiers dress in all white and get ready to throw. Most people also don a pair of goggles (as tomato juice in the eyes can sting). Everyone then gathers in the streets and waits for the fiesta to start. Specifically they are waiting on someone to be able to climb a greased pole and retrieve the ham that has been placed at the top. You can expect many drunken attempts on this feat. Once the ham has been rescued, water hoses soak the crowds and the trucks are brought in. Now is when the magic happens. You are in the middle of over 20,000 people and 45 tons of overripe squished up tomatoes and you are having more fun than you could have ever imagined. The food fight continues for a full hour when the water hoses are again pumped at the mob signaling the end of a week of parades, fireworks, and parties.

This is definitely an event you want to show up early for. The food and celebrations leading up to La Tomatina are all part of the experience. The night before the “batalla”, huge pots of mouth-watering paella are cooked up with all the freshest seafood straight from the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, the parades, fireworks, and parties are paired with some of the warmest people you will ever encounter. The day of, be sure to dress in your whitest whites (but make sure they are “toss away”), wear sneakers, goggles, and for girls a sports bra is recommended as the revelers can get a bit overly animated at times. Needless to say, this is not your junior high school cafeteria food fight. With thousands of your newest closest friends at hand, La Tomatina is a festival like no other. Grab a tomato and get on board!

Rick Steves' Spain 2012
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Lonely Planet Spain
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