La Tomatina






The world’s biggest food fight takes place on the last Wednesday of August every year in the town of Buñol, near Valencia.  Begun in 1945 during a street parade, one young boy grabbed some tomatoes from a nearby market stall and began pelting everyone with them, encouraging others to retaliate.  The next year, the same people picked a fight again, this time bringing their own tomatoes. After the fight was banned in the 1950s, residents protested by holding a tomato burial in which a coffin was paraded with a giant tomato inside.  After a couple of years, the authorities reversed course and allowed the food fight to continue. 


The fun begins at 11 a.m. when someone climbs up to the top of a two-storey high greased wooden pole in the center of town, the Plaza del Pueblo, to reach a ham placed at the top, cheered on by the crowd.  As soon as the ham is dislodged, water cannons are fired and the tomato throwing begins with tomatoes that have been hauled into the town in trucks.  The fight lasts for an hour, during which time 150,000 tomatoes are thrown.  Most people wear white in order to clearly see the mess made on their clothes by the tomatoes.  Some men wear only their underpants, while other people wear swimming goggles or snorkeling gear to keep the puree out of their eyes and nose.  There is one rule; tomatoes must be squashed before being thrown. 


Once the hour is over, the streets are cleaned with water from a Roman aqueduct.  Visitors, covered from head to toe in tomato pulp, often wash themselves in the nearby river or are hosed down by local residents.



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