Info Hostels photo 120 © Dara Vongsonephet


La Tomatina - Valencia

Pre-tomato preparations in Bu�ol

THE MISSION:

World Tomato domination (okay, Spanish tomato domination). On August 30, take about 30,000 people, over 240,000 tonnes of tomatoes and place it all together in one small Spanish town. (Make sure that the tomatoes are soft and ripe and that the shop-fronts are protected from attack.) Your mission is to lobby, throw, splatter and project as many tomatoes into as many people as you can. Subsequent tomato wounds, spillage, waste and stains are all consequences of a good tomato fight.



This is La Tomatina, an annual festival that takes place in Bu�ol, a small town 38 km outside of Valencia, Spain. What better way to shake off the coming Autumn chills than head out for one last crazy summer festival? And crazy it is: La Tomatina is spectacularly known as the world�s biggest (and messiest) all-out food fight.



SOME BACKGROUND INFO:

This annual festival has been going on since 1944, and has no known historical or religious significance. It�s an all-out tomato war (and perhaps also wet t-shirt fight) that has no apparent logic. Other than to get sticky, messy and crazy wet, that is. Rumour has it that La Tomatina began between youths fighting each other, with a produce stall nearby. Others pin it down to a practical joke. Some say it had something to do with a political rally. Where-ever it came from, it is now a popular festival that people come from miles around to see and experience.



On the day, the masses start arriving early, and assemble in the town�s Plaza del Popolo, swelling the town�s population to over 30,000. At 11.00, a large ham (yes, ham) is placed at the top of a greased pole (yes, greased). As soon as some lucky punter manages to climb up the pole to knock it down, a canon is fired and the fight is officially on. The tomatoes are brought in on trucks through the windy streets of Bu�ol, and it�s a free-for-all for a few hours. When the second canon is fired towards 1pm, it�s game over.



Firetrucks then clean the town (and maybe also some of the tomato victims) with water pumped from Roman aquaducts. The party continues with the Festival of the town�s patron saint, San Luis Bertr�n, and the Virgin Mary.


THE RULES:

+ squash your tomatoes into a juicy pulpy mess first. Better results guaranteed

+ Goggles or even snorkel masks have been handy in the past to protect eyes

+ no hard objects allowed

+ the fight begins at the sound of the first cannon guns, and finishes at the second

+ every man (or woman!) for themselves!




LOOK OUT FOR:

This Infohostels.com staff has her goggles and tomato throwing muscles at the ready. Keep an eye out on our site for a tomato-soaked view of the festival.


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