When: 31st August 2015 or the last Wednesday of August every year.
Where: Bunol, Spain
What is La Tomatina? Well, to put it simply, it is the annual ‘Tomato throwing fest’ which is celebrated on the last Wednesday of the month of August.
Ready yourself in the morning for the frenzy, which gets started when a ham is placed on top of a tall, greased pole in front of the local town hall. The tomato throwing ‘ritual’ can only begin once someone is able to climb the slippery pole and grab the ham. The sight is truly hilarious as hordes of people try to scale this pole, climbing over each other, in order to be the illustrious one to claim the ham.
Once the ham is snatched, the trucks roll in with the masses of ripe & juicy tomatoes in the centre of town.
The event begins as five bulbous (tomato-packed rockets) are fired out of a cannon into the air. The crowd explodes into a thunderous roar and this launches everyone into a flinging and slinging frenzy.
Legends surrounding La Tomatina:
There are few stories about how the legend of La Tomatina came about, and the best part of all of them is no one really knows which one is true!
If it still intrigues you, park yourself near a local brewery and allow the old man to narrate an animated anecdote of how ‘Don Juan’, a notorious Spanish womanizer, was pelted with tomatoes in response to his awful singing voice and horrendous guitar play.
Ask those lanky teenagers, lurking on the streets, about the ‘La Tomatina’ and they would swear it was started by a group of local rascals raiding a fruit-stand in the town centre and hurling them at each other in a fleeting moment of madness.
And if you choose to believe the local women eagerly selling their souvenir T-shirts, you will know that almost half a century ago, a parade honouring the town’s patron saint Luis Bertran, ended in carnage when a local producer’s cart was crushed spilling thousands of ripe tomatoes onto the streets.
No matter which story you choose to believe, one thing is for sure, nothing comes close to those few breath-taking hours when about 50,000 people come out on the streets armed with 250,000 pounds of ripe and juicy tomatoes, all set for the war…. THE TOMATO WAR!
La Tomatina 2016: How to reach:
The nearest airport to Bunol is 30 miles away in Valencia. Valencia Airport is connected to the city centre by the local metro. You could also drive down to Bunol from other major Spanish cities like Barcelona (approx 4 hrs) , Seville (approx 6 hrs), Madrid (approx 3 hrs) and Córdoba (approx 4 hrs).
Alternatively, you could also catch a train to Bunol, from Madrid.
La Tomatina 2016:
There aren’t too many rules in this fun fest, but more of ‘common sense’ applications.
- Participants should not wear designer or delicate fabrics. Steer clear of whites; as these wont won’t remain clean and bright for very long.
- If you’re absolutely determined to take pictures, carry a see-though waterproof bag.
- Participants have to make way for trucks and lorries.
- You can throw tomatoes and tomatoes only.
- They must be squashed before you throw them, to avoid bruising.
- Although the locals tend to rip each other’s clothing, it is officially forbidden and as a visitor, you will be expected to behave.
- After the second shot indicative of ending the tomato hurl, no tomatoes should be thrown.
- And, finally, do not throw tomatoes at the non-tomato throwers, especially if they seem to be the locals. Chances are they are pro at the game and their experience may be the most deadly out there.
La Tomatina 2016: Fun Facts:
- About 90,000 pounds of tomatoes are used during the festival.
- The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are specifically grown for this purpose.
- It was not until 2013 that ticketing for the event started, and now, if you don’t have ticket, you can’t enter.If you aren’t already convinced…this Bollywood number would definitely do the trick: