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3 History of La Tomatina Festival in Spain Secrets You Never Knew

June 3, 2016 | European Culture

La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, a town located in the East of Spain 30 km / 19 miles from the Mediterranean, in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in this tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes. Since 1945 It has been held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Buñol.

The highlight of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11am and 1pm on that day. The event has become one of the highlights on Spain’s summer festivals calendar with thousands of people flocking to this little Valencian town for this chaotic event.  Such are the numbers going to La Tomatina festival in spain that the event has become a victim of its own success. The sheer number of people means that it’s extremely difficult to get anywhere near the central area where the tomato lorries arrive so you may well find yourself a few streets away from the main action. Never mind, there are plenty people in the same boat and the street partying goes on no matter where you are.

3 History of La Tomatina Festival in Spain Secrets You Never Knew

History of La Tomatina Festivals in Spain

There is no one definitive version of how La Tomatina festival in spain started, but the tradition of a tomato fight has taken place in Bunol since at least 1944, although the festival was banned during much of the Franco years for having no religious significance – it was revived with gusto in the 1970s. Theories on why the first tomato fight took place include a food fight among friends, a juvenile class war between bare-footed Trotskyist macarras and upper class pijos from Madrid on summer vacation, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, the rubbishing of a bad musician, a democratic protest against the city council and (our favourite) the ensuing aftermath of an accidental truck spillage.

Whatever the cause, the folk of Bunol obviously thought it was a mighty grand idea and promptly re-invoked the tradition the following year! Today from 20,000 to 50,000 people come from all over the world to get fruity with one another!

3 History of La Tomatina Festival in Spain Secrets You Never Knew

ll started the last Wednesday of August in 1945 when some young people spent the time in the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade. The young boys decided to have a place among the retinue of a parade with musician, Giants and Big-Heads figures.

The energy of these young people made that one participant fell off. The participant flew into a fit of rage, started to hit everything in his path. There was a market stall of vegetable that fell victim of the furious crowd: people started to pelt each other with tomatoes until the local forces ended that vegetable battle.

The following year, the young people picked a quarrel by their own decision and brought the tomatoes from home. Although the police broke up the early tradition in the following years, the young boys had made history without being conscious about it. La Tomatina was banned in the early 50s, which was not a problem for the participants who were even arrested. But the people spoke and the festivity was again allowed with more participants and more frenetic feelings.

The festivity was again cancelled till 1957 when, as a sign of protest, the tomato burial was held. It was a demonstration in which the residents carried a coffin with a huge tomato inside. The parade was accompanied by a music band which played funeral marches and it was totally successful. La Tomatina Festival was finally allowed and became an official festivity.
As a result of the report of Javier Basilio, broadcasted in the Spanish Television Program called Informe Semanal, the festivity started to be known in the rest of Spain.

Since then, the number of participants increased year after year as well as the excitement about La Tomatina Festival. In 2002, La Tomatina of Buñol was declared Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary Deparment of Tourism due to its success.

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