La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain.
The highlight of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11am and 1pm on that day. It’s the world’s biggest food fight. Shops cover their windows with plastic bags and the streets run red with over 120 tons of vegetable juice.
Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight on the streets of Bunol. La fiesta de la Tomatina or tomato party takes places once a year in the town of Bunol, Spain since 1945.
There are more theories of how the festival started. One of them says that there was a really bad musician who used to play in the town square.
The locals fed up of him, took some tomatoes from a green grocer that was nearby and threw them at him. Not everyone hit the target but someone else’s head, and somehow that derived into a tomato war.
The other theory says it started the last Wednesday of August in 1945 when some young people spent the time in the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade.
The young boys decided to have a place among the retinue of a parade with musician, Giants, and Big-Heads figures.
Because of those young people one participant fell off. He was so nervous that he started to hit everything in his path. The crowd was furious so people started to pelt each other with tomatoes taken from a market stall of vegetables until the local forces ended that vegetable battle.
The next year the young people brought tomatoes from home since they thought that it would be fun to do it again like last year. Of course, the police tried to stop them and when they couldn’t, they forced them to pay for damages. In those years Spain was under Franco’s dictatorship and whoever broke the public order could be severely punished.
Bunol’s major forbid this celebration in 1950, as he considered that it was offensive to the honor of the country and morality.
However, it didn’t mean anything for the town’s people that the celebration was forbidden by the major himself and people began once again throwing tomatoes to each other. The police arrested a large number of them. The others began protesting and demanding the police to release them.
La Tomatina was allowed again but people who participated got a little too enthusiastic about it and few of them started throwing water as well as tomatoes and some got thrown in the fountain. So the party was forbidden once again.
Finally, in 1959 La Tomatina took place again. A few years later Francisco Franco died and Spain began to open up to tourism. People from all over the world started coming to participate to the tomato war party in Bunol.
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The festival was broadcasted live and as a result gained national and international attention. Each year, the festival increases in participation and vegetable count.