Day Dream Fridays – La Tomatina (Spanish Tomato Fight Festival)

To add some structure and continuity to our blog, we are continuing to add on going series.  Now Fridays aren’t just days we sit in the office and work for the weekend, Fridays are a day to Day Dream about all of the amazing places to go and see! Day Dream Fridays!

Today we look at “that one festival in spain where they throw tomatoes at each other” or as the Spaniards call it “La Tomatina“.  Many of have seen the pictures or watched a video of this massive food fight, but few know the rich history behind this world renowned festival.

The beginning of the festival is dated back to the last Wednesday in August in 1945 in the small Valencian town of Buñol.  Apparently a parade was scheduled that day.  As the Parade made its way through town, a crowd of teenagers decided to cause a ruckus.  Very surprising, I’m sure.  They joined in on the parade, which made one of the actual parade participants very upset.  That particular participant began hitting things, people, etc. while continuing the parade.  The crowd then became so upset that they grabbed tomatoes from the nearby stand and began pummeling the parade, and eventually each other, with tomatoes.

The next year, the teenagers tried to reenact the events, but the authorities put a stop to it.  Eventually in the mid to late 50’s, after countless arrests, the authorities in Buñol decided to embrace it and it has been a staple of the city’s main festival every year.

Today, if you want to participate in La Tomatina all you have to do is the follow:

1. Get to Buñol.  It is about 22 miles from Valencia and both the bus and train go to Buñol.

2. Participate in the madness.  It starts at 11:00am and you’ll want to head to where all the crazed people holding tomatoes are going.

La Tomatina’s official website provides these rules:

  • Do not bring bottles or hard objects as they can cause accidents and hurt other participants
  • Do not rip other people’s T-shirts
  • You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them as this reduces the impact
  • Ensure you keep a safe distance from the lorries
  • As soon as you hear the second shot, you must stop throwing tomatoes

and suggests the following for the best experience:

  • Wear closed shoes that you don’t mind throwing away afterwards. If you wear flip-flops, you may get hurt, or you could lose them easily during the battle
  • Wear old clothes, or clothes that you aren’t planning to wear again. They will most likely end up damaged from being ripped or incredibly dirty
  • You may find goggles useful. However, it is safer if you just ensure that you always have something clean to wipe your eyes with. The best thing is if you tuck your T-Shirt into your shorts to keep the bottom part of your T-shirt clean and dry
  • If you are planning to take pictures, bring a waterproof camera!
  • If you’re not from Buñol, and you want to stay overnight, don’t forget to look for and secure accommodation in advance
  • Do not miss the Palojabón – a soap-covered pole with a Spanish ham at the top: whoever can climb the pole and get the ham can keep it!
  • Stay safe and enjoy the festivities as much possible

For everyone that didn’t read the bullets, you missed probably one of the most amazing sentences ever crafted.  Paojabón: a soap-covered pole with a Spanish ham at the top: whoever can climb the pole and get the ham can keep it.  That’s right!  If you have enough gusto, you could be eating some delicious traditional Spanish ham for the rest of the week.  NOW THAT’S A FESTIVAL!

What are some of your favorite day-dream travel spots?

*Video from YouTube, Photo from Wikipedia


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