La Tomatina, also known as the Tomato Festival or Tomato Fight, is the world’s largest annual food fight. A fight that people enjoy. Well obviously, it’s a food fight after all! The last Wednesday of every August sees the Spanish town of Buñol smothered with smashed tomatoes.
If you’ve opened Google, you already know that it’s the 70th anniversary of La Tomatina. And if you’re into movies, you already have a particular song playing in your head. But what is it really about? Here is everything you should know about painting the town red in Spain!
It Started Off in 1945 After A Fight
La Tomatina started at a parade in 1945. A fight broke out in the crowd and ended up near a market that was selling vegetables. The crowd began throwing vegetables at each other. A year later, tomatoes and other vegetables were brought back to the festival for a second fight, and the tradition was born.
However, there are other theories that state “the rubbishing of a bad musician,” in which tomatoes thrown at politicians as a democratic protest and “the ensuing aftermath of an accidental truck spillage.”
The Fight Starts After Someone Climbs a Greasy Pole in the Town Square to Retrieve a Ham
The tomato fight doesn’t get started until after another tradition is completed. A person from the town has to climb a large and greasy pole in the town square to retrieve a ham that is placed at the top. This happens at about 11 in the morning.
Thousands Of Tourists Are A Part Of This Festival
According to figures supplied by Buñol’s City Council, around 20% of this year’s participants are expected to be Spanish, 15% British, 10% Japanese, 9% Indian, 5% Australian and another 5% from the United States.
The Tomato Juice Keeps The Streets Clean. Science Alert!
Once the tomato throwing has ended, fire trucks are used to hose down the streets. Carousers head to public showers hosed off by neighbors or jump in the local river to get clean.
After the hoses wash the red tomato paste away, the streets are sparjly clean. That is because the acidity of the tomatoes disinfects and cleans the streets.
It’s Celebrated In Various Corners of the World
Many cities have taken inspiration from Spain and have a tomato fight of their own. In Colombia, the town of Sutamarchán has held a tomato fight since 2004 in June. In Twin Lakes, Colorado, started the “Colorado-Texas Tomato War” in 1982, which pits residents from Texas and Colorado against each other in a food fight every September. There are also annual La Tomatina-inspired events in Costa Rica and Chile.
This Year’s Tomatina Is Going To Break Previous Tomato Records
A whopping 150 tons of tomatoes will be used this year. This is 5 tons more than last year’s usage – which was also a record breaker, by the way.