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La Tomatina or the Spanish Festival Dedicated to Tomatoes

Home > Sydney > Festivals | Food and Wine | Outdoor
by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published October 20th 2013
When throwing food becomes tradition
Do you remember your parents teaching you it is not nice to play with your food? Well, as basic as this rule may seem, it does not apply when it comes to the worldwide famous Spanish festival La Tomatina – an event that attracts thousands of tourists to the small town of Bunol at the end of each month of August.

What is La Tomatina?

[ADVERT]La Tomatina is an annual Spanish festival and the greatest food fight in the whole world. Its origins go back to the year 1945, when a group of youngsters started a tomatoes fight. This form of entertainment became increasingly popular during the '50s, and the Spanish authorities had to forbid such happenings. However, starting 1975, the festival is organized officially and it is dedicated to San Louis Beltran, the patron saint of Bunol.

At present, La Tomatina gathers about 50.000 people who come from the whole world to attend this food fight festival that lasts a whole week and includes, besides the iconic tomatoes fight, concerts, dance performances, fireworks and even a musical battle between the two Bunol orchestras – La Armonica and La Artistica. However, the main attraction remains throwing at each other tomatoes that have been cultivated especially for the even in the Spanish region of Extremadura. Beware: the tomatoes cannot be eaten! They are not meant for human consumption.

When is La Tomatina festival held?

La Tomatina does not have a fixed calendar date. The kickoff signal of the festival is given in the last Wednesday of the month of August. In 2013, La Tomatina started on August 28th. That very morning, the participants filled the narrow streets of Bunol, which normally has less than 10 000 inhabitants. The locals covered their facades in plastic sheets long before 11.00am, when a horn gave the starting signal and the entire town was under the tomatoes' attack… for a whole hour.

Is it safe to attend La Tomatina?

Surrealistic images of participants covered in tomatoes sauce make the tour of the world, providing this festival with a "bloody" reputation. However, La Tomatina is a safe event and results in only a few light injuries, mainly due to the heat. All security rules are enhanced during the festival and participants have to obey the following:

Not to throw bottles or other objects except the famous tomatoes;

Not to tear the adversary's clothes;

Crash the tomatoes before launching them towards the other participants;

Stop throwing tomatoes when they hear the end horn signal.

Where to look for accommodation for La Tomatina festival?

The small town of Bunol is located 37 kilometers west of Valencia. The best option is to find accommodation in Valencia and to travel to Bunol by train. Direct trains to Bunol run through Sant Isidre Station, not through the Valencia's Central Station. However, if you want to stay in Bunol, it is advisable you plan your journey ahead and find accommodation in advance.
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Where: Bunol, Spain
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