La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Bunol, a town situated in the East of Spain 30 km from the Mediterranean, in which people throw tomatoes and get engaged in this tomato fight simply for enjoyment purposes. Since 1945 It has been held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Bunol.
La Tomatina began on the last Wednesday (Dated 29) of August in 1945 when some young people traveled to the town square to be present at the Giants and Big-Head figures parade. They made the decision to join the parade with a musician. The group’s enjoyment caused a person to fall from the float. The person flew into a fit of rage and started to hit everything in his path. There was a market of vegetables that dropped victim to what soon became a furious audience. People began to pelt each other with tomatoes until local law enforcement ended the fight.
The pursuing year the young people intentionally repeated the fight on the last Wednesday of August, only this time they brought their own tomatoes from house. They were again sent out by the cops. The food battle became an annual occasion. In 1950, the town granted the tomato hurl to take place, but the next year it was ended again. Many young people were jailed but Bunol residents pushed authorities to let them go.
The festival received attractiveness with more and more participants every year. In following years it was prohibited again with risks of serious penalties. In the year 1957, some young people celebrated “the tomato’s funeral”, with singers, musicians, and comedies. The main interest however, was a big tomato in a coffin taken around while a band played funeral marches. In 1957, demand for the well-known festival led to its becoming official, with certain rules and restrictions. These guidelines have gone through many variations over the years.
Since then, the number of members has increased year after year as well as the enjoyment about La Tomatina Festival. In 2002, in the month of August La Tomatina of Bunol was declared a Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary Department of Tourism due to its success. In 2013, town officials launched an entry fee and limited the number of participants, citing concerns over safety.
Rules of the festival
The city council follows a short list of guidelines for the protection of the members and the festival:
The tomatoes have to be crammed before throwing to prevent incidents.
No other projectiles except tomatoes are permitted.
Members have to make way for trucks and lorries.
After the second shot a sign of finishing the tomato hurl, no tomatoes should be thrown.
La Tomatina Festival Dates
2016: August 31
2017: August 30
2018: August 29