The La Tomatina festival or the tomato festival of Spain is something that needs no introduction. In fact, among all the Spanish festivals, La Tomatina is, without doubt, the most well-known, all across the world. Held in the Valencian town of Buñol, the yearly Spanish festival of La Tomatina sees hundreds of participants.
Why is La Tomatina celebrated?
While numerous people have a wish to attend the La Tomatina Festival in Spain, not a lot have wondered about why La Tomatina is celebrated. The history of La Tomatina actually goes back to 1945. It began with a tiny scuffle in a parade in August which soon escalated to a full-fledged fruit fight. Then the next year, some boys came prepared with tomatoes to purposefully start a food fight which was broken up soon enough by the police. However, that was the birth of Spain’s tomato festival and the rest, as they say, is history. La Tomatina was banned for a brief spell, a ban that was protested and subsequently lifted.
When is La Tomatina Festival held in Spain?
The La Tomatina Festival in Spain is held not on an exact date, but rather a day. On the last Wednesday of August, amidst a week of festivities, Spain’s tomato festival is celebrated with gusto, under keen supervision for the duration of an hour. This is also one of the reasons why Spain tour packages see an upshot in demand during this time.
A Small Guide to La Tomatina
If you are planning a trip to partake in the tomato festival in Spain, you would definitely need some tips for La Tomatina survival! While the history of La Tomatina doesn’t have a lot of grisly stories, knowing some basic tips for La Tomatina and facts about the festival is always a good idea.
1. Find your accommodation in advance
One of the more popular La Tomatina facts is that there are a lot of people attending the festival. The small town of Buñol is going to be swamped. A lot of people opt to stay nearby in Valencia, which is about a half hour away from where Spain’s tomato festival will be held. Valencia is also full of hostels and hotels where you can find affordable accommodation. In fact, a lot of these also offer La Tomatina package deals that may include accommodation, transport to the festival, tickets to the festival’s after-party, and even clothing for attending the La Tomatina. Just make sure that you make your booking well in advance.
2. Discuss a Centralised Meet-Up Point
This is one of the most important tips for La Tomatina if you are with your friends or family. Now, you’ve made an amazing plan to attend Spanish festivals, like La Tomatina, with your friends, making some amazing memories along the way. However, there is a very high chance that you will lose each other in the huge crowd. You may manage to stay together throughout the La Tomatina festival or you may not. Don’t take chances and before the festival starts; make sure you decide upon a prominent meeting point. After the festival, if you did manage to lose your friends, you can head towards the meeting point without having to worry too much.
3. Wearing a Money Belt
A money belt may feel like an unstylish addition, but it can really be helpful for you. Another one of La Tomatina facts is that the celebrations do get a bit intense and if you are carrying your wallet, you may not even notice when it slips and falls out. A money belt can save you a lot of worries, issues, and hard work.
4. Invest in Waterproof Camera and Phone Cases
This is also one of the important tips for La Tomatina. Do not make the rookie mistake of thinking that a plastic bag is all you need to protect your phone during the festival. You can easily buy waterproof cases for your phone and camera, as these are sold almost everywhere in Valencia and Buñol. Losing your phone to tomatoes in a foreign land may not be the memory you are looking to make. Better safe than sorry.
5. Selecting the Right Shoes
A common mistake people make is that they think wearing flip flops or sandals will be a good idea as they would be easier to clean. True, but what they forget here is that the La Tomatina festival of Spain is known all over the world and has a huge number of participants. There are going to be plenty of people who will step on your toes accidentally, so closed toed shoes would be your best bet. A good idea is to invest in some cheap shoes that you won’t mind disposing off afterward.
6. The Eyes are Important
Most movies depicting the La Tomatina Festival will not show you is the intensity with which tomatoes are flying everywhere during the festival. As tomatoes and water come at you from almost every direction, you should definitely safeguard your eyes. Where some goggles and spare your eyes any discomfort. When you don’t have to spend time after every couple of minutes to clear tomatoes from your eyes, you can keep going and keep having fun.
7. Wear Clothes You Won’t Miss Later
This is a very important thing to remember. When headed to Spain for the Tomatina Festival, make sure you pack in sturdy clothes that you would not mind parting with. Tomato is really hard to get out! Dress in summer friendly clothes, but don’t pick up something that is so old that it tears easily!
8. Squash First, Hurl Later
This is way too important to forget when attending the La Tomatina Festival in Spain. Though the tomatoes that are supplied for the festival are ripe, it won’t be a surprise if some un-ripe pieces did manage to sneak their way into the mix. Everyone is expected to follow this rule. You DO NOT throw whole tomatoes at people. Always squash the tomato in your hand before you aim for someone. This is a very simple tip to ensure that no one gets hurt.
9. All Tomatoes are Different
Image courtesy: www.roughguides.com
Before you immerse yourself in the fun and frolic and the jovialities, accept the fact that all tomatoes are different. And while some may not bother you, others may just hurt you a bit. Know what you are getting into and be prepared for an hour of fun that’ll stay etched in your memory for a long time.
Apart from these tips, there are also several rules and regulations that people attending La Tomatina are expected to follow. Make sure you are well aware of them and that you follow them thoroughly. Also, keep an ear out for the announcement that marks the end of the festival and make sure you stop throwing produce when you hear it. The rest of it is all about having fun and enjoying yourself!