Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Spain: La Tomatina Festival

La Tomatina or “the tomato fight” is a festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year, in the town of Buñol in the Valencia region of Spain. Tens of thousands of participants come from all over the world to take part in a battle where tons of tomatoes are thrown on the streets.
The festival, which lasts a whole week, includes music, parades, dances and fireworks. The night before the tomatoes fight competitors are racing to prepare the most delicious paella, also a specialty of Valencia region.

The tradition, with his origins in 1952, says that women who participate in the battle should wear white shirts, while men can go without a shirt. Annually, about 20.000-40.000 participate in this festival of tourists, which multiply several times the population of the small town that does not normally exceed 9,000 inhabitants.
On the day of the battle, the first event takes place at 10.00. One of the participants must climb a greasy pole, on top of which is a piece of ham. During this, the crowd sings and dances. From trucks and from the windows of the houses, start the battle with water. Then trucks full of tomatoes are stored in the Plaza del Pueblo and the real Tomatina can begin.
The tomatoes come from Extremadura, being cheaper and grown specifically for the festival. The chaos takes an hour, being followed by “showers”. Authorities are more concerned with cleaning the town than with the tourists, this responsibility resting entirely on their shoulders.

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