It was every kid’s dream, to have a food fight. Well now, as an adult, you finally have the chance to experience the world’s largest food fight with no holds barred! It’s huge, it’s epic, and it’s full of tomatoes – it’s La Tomatina!
If you’ve never heard of, or been to, La Tomatina you’re missing out. Okay, so throwing thousands of tomatoes at thousands of people does sound a little odd. You’ll probably never look at tomatoes in the same way again, but really this festival is incredibly good fun. So how did this bizarre event come into being, and how did it end up attracting thousands of people from all over the world? Read on to find out.
The Origins of La Tomatina
We can’t say for sure how La Tomatina originated because there are several different stories in existence but it’s thought that it was in either 1944 or 1945 that the first tomato fight happened in the usually quiet and sleepy Spanish town of Bunol. It was one of those things where, during a parade, one tomato was thrown, hit someone, and suddenly a full blown food fight was in progress; at least that’s one of the stories. But, having been broken up by the police some of the residents thought it was actually quite fun to throw tomatoes at each other and so the following year, on the same day in August, they did it again.
This happened for several years running, with the police always breaking it up, but the tomato fight gained in popularity with people from neighbouring towns coming to participate as well. Over the next decade there were a few years when the town authorities actually allowed the festival to take place only to change their minds again the following year. Then finally in 1957, after it had become so popular, it was decided to make it an official festival as long as certain rules and restrictions were followed.
In the following decades La Tomatina grew from its origins as a solely local celebration into one that is world renowned. Up until 2013 its appeal was massive, attracting somewhere between 40 and 50,000 people, but due to safety concerns it was decided that from 2013 onwards entry to the food fight would be restricted to 20,000 lucky people. Despite the restriction, popularity is still very high, but now if you want to go to La Tomatina you’ll have to buy a ticket in advance or organise a tour with us in order to be guaranteed entry.
So there you have it… what started as one innocent tomato being thrown ended up becoming one of the world’s best known and most popular festivals!
Like La Tomatina history? Then join us in battle at this epic festival.
by Claire Bolgil, Travel Writer Extraordinaire
A traveller’s guide to La Tomatina