La Tomatina is the biggest food fight you’ll ever set foot in (and you thought food-fights only happened in movies). The festival kicks off in August every year and brings together around 20,000 merry party-goers every year, both travellers and locals alike. It’s like stepping onto a movie-set as you walk through a narrow street, lined with plastic tarps to protect local’s houses and windows from the chaotic mess.
La Tomatina Dates – Your official festival timeline
1945 – saw the first of La Tomatina when a huge tomato fight broke out in the usually quiet and tranquil village of Bunyol (however no one knows the true history behind the festival’s origins).
1946 – saw the first replication of La Tomatina when some young Spaniards wanted to recreate the tomato fight for fun in the town plaza.
1946 – 1950 – La Tomatina was continually replicated contrary to the wants and resistant efforts of local authorities.
1950’s – La Tomatina was officially banned by the town council and by Francisco Franco (a Spanish dictator) for having no religious significance.
1957 – after years of trying to replicate the event, and after many were punished and temporarily imprisoned for doing so, the town locals decided to celebrate the burial of the “Entierro del tomate” (The Burial of the Tomato), a festival that was to symbolize the death of the widely popular tomato fight.
1959 – due to high demand for the festival, the City Council decided to make the event legal, and even gave the festival a patron Saint in which it would represent (San Luis Bertrán).
By the late 1970’s – the City Council eventually took responsibility for the festival’s organisation, providing everything down to the truck-loads of tomatoes.
When Is La Tomatina now?
The La Tomatina dates you need to note down are never the same for every year. The main event of tomato throwing kicks off on the last Wednesday of August annually, and is a one-day event. If you’re in Valencia or Buñol for a couple of days, make sure you check out the various tomato and wine celebrations in Buñol, as well surrounding villages the night before.
One wine festival worth checking out is in Requena, a small village about an hour from Buñol. Here you’ll find a wild festival where locals will fill your glass with wine out of the back of a truck. It usually kicks off the night before La Tomatina and is well worth checking out – even if you are terribly hung-over for the big event the next day.
Ready to party? Join us in battle!