La Tomatina

The Big Tomato Fight

What is it?

La Tomatina is an annual festival that takes place in Spain on the last wednesday of August where the participants throw tomatoes on each other. Nobody is sure why this tradition was started but there are some theories that date back to the 1940s. The theories mostly are about young men coming each year to the festivals with tomatoes as a sign of rebellion against the government and they would start throwing them at people there. Those young men did it every year for about 12 years before the government made it legal and it became an annual tradition.

The Ritual

Step By Step

The festivities start around 10 in the morning when all the participants gather around the pole of ham and start singing and dancing while trying to reach the ham. While this occurs they are being hosed down by the people living on that street. When someone drops the ham, a firing shot is heard and trucks start to drive into the street carrying the tomatoes. (the tomatoes are specifically grown for this event and therefore are soft and not very tasty) An hours later another shot is heard that symbolizes the end of the fight. While the participants hose down in a specific area provided by the locals, fire trucks come in and hose the city. In the end the city is sparkly clean because tomatoes are acetic.

Rules and Facts

After the even became extremly popular and well known, many rules have been put into effect:

  1. The tomatoes have to be squashed before throwing to avoid injuries.
  2. Only tomatoes are allowed.
  3. Participants have to give way to the truck and lorries.
  4. The festival doesn't allow ripping off T-shirts.
  5. After the second shot indicative of ending the tomato hurl, no tomatoes should be thrown.

Interesting facts:

-30,000 people come to the fight every year

-It is the world's largest food fight

-As of last year you need a ticket to be allowed to fight due to increase in people showing up.

-Whoever climbs the pole gets to keep the ham

-Once the shot is heard it is every man to himself.