The fun and harmless battle of the tomatoes returned this year on August 31 in Buñol–located some 20 miles outside of Valencia in Spain–with even more enthusiasm after a hiatus imposed by Covid pandemic restrictions. Everybody gets gloriously slimy covered in crushed tomatoes and the more you toss out, the more come back at you.
La Tomatina Festival started by chance on the last Wednesday of August in 1945 when some young people were visiting the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade, another traditional feast held in many towns in Spain.
The young people decided to take part in a parade with musicians, Giants and Big-Heads figures. One participant’s Big-head fell off, as a result of the festivities. The participant flew into a fit of rage, and began hitting everything in their path. There was a market stall of vegetables that fell victim to the fury of the crowd, as people started to pelt each other with tomatoes until the local forces ended the fruit battle.
The following year, some young people staged a quarrel and brought their own tomatoes from home. Although the local forces broke it up, this began the yearly tradition. In the following years, the boys’ example was followed by thousands of people. And as the saying goes: the rest is history. Now La Tomatina attracts thousands of people each year, some locals and some tourists, but everyone is there to have some messy fun!