Every year, in the small town of Buñol, Spain, an explosion of colour, laughter, and squashed tomatoes takes over the streets. La Tomatina, often touted as the world’s most exhilarating food fight, transcends mere festivity – it’s a unique celebration that brings together locals and travellers alike in a whirlwind of tomatoes, camaraderie, and unforgettable memories. In this blog post, we delve into the origins, traditions, and sheer excitement of the iconic La Tomatina Festival.
La Tomatina dates back to 1945, when a playful food fight broke out among youngsters during a parade. The chosen weapons? Tomatoes. Little did they know, they were sowing the seeds for what would become a globally renowned event. Although La Tomatina faced bans and interruptions over the years, its popularity endured, and it was officially recognised as a festival in the 1950s. Today, it draws thousands of participants from around the world to Buñol’s streets on the last Wednesday of August.
As the sun rises on the fateful day, the small town transforms into a battleground of joy. Participants gather in the town square, anticipation buzzing in the air. At the sound of the starting shot, the chaos ensues – truckloads of ripe tomatoes are hurled into the crowd, and the streets are awash with red. Laughter echoes through the air as strangers become allies in this tomato-flinging frenzy. The squelching of tomatoes underfoot and the sticky sensation on the skin create an unparalleled sensory experience.
While the tomato fight is the main attraction, La Tomatina is woven with a tapestry of traditions. One such tradition is the “palo jabón,” a greasy pole with a ham suspended at the top. Climbing this pole to retrieve the ham is a test of skill and determination, and it signals the end of the tomato battle. Afterwards, the town square becomes a makeshift bathing area, as participants clean off the tomato pulp under the spray of hoses and makeshift showers.
La Tomatina has become a symbol of Buñol’s resilience, camaraderie, and love for life. Efforts have been made to preserve the authenticity and sustainability of the festival. While the tomato fight may seem wasteful, the tomatoes used are typically overripe and unsuitable for consumption. Moreover, the town’s streets are thoroughly cleaned after the event, and efforts are made to recycle the organic waste.
At Camino, we prefer to celebrate in a way that causes less mess, we like to consume them! Come down and celebrate our way with our delicious tomato bread, tomato salad and La Tomatina special, the Bloody Maria.