All the ins and outs of La Tomatina festival
When you are in Valencia, we understand very well that you mainly come here to cycle through the city, taste the food, meet the people and probably go to the beach. It is not without a reason that Valencia is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination. But when you are in Valencia in August, on August 28, to be exact, then we want to advise you to go to the town of Buñol for a day, which is close to Valencia. Here is the festival of the year: La Tomatina.
There is a good chance the name is already telling you something because it certainly has something to do with tomatoes. It is a big festival in whichkilos of tomatoes fly through the air. Every year this party is celebrated on the last Wednesday of August.
The festival is actually quite old. It started in 1945 in the town of Buñol. There was a celebration in the town and people were walking around dressed up in a parade. A couple of young people decided to hit these people with tomatoes because they were not allowed to participate in the parade. The following year the young people decided to do this again with the tomatoes the brought with them. And so an annual festival with tomatoes was created.
Every year, around 150,000 kilos of tomatoes are thrown in the streets of Buñol at la Tomatina. You may wonder if this is not a waste, but don’t worry, because only the over-ripe tomatoes are used for this. These are the tomatoes that can no longer be sold. These tomatoes are saved two weeks before the festival. So they only use tomatoes that would be thrown away anyway.
There are a number of rules attached to this festival. The idea is that everyone can throw tomatoes on the street for one hour, but there is more:
- You are not allowed to take bottles or other objects that could cause accidents.
- You can not destroy clothing.
- The tomatoes must first be flattened before they can be thrown, to prevent people from being injured by them.
- You can only start during the starting shot and one hour later you must stop immediately after the second shot.
- After the second shot, the tomato fight is over and it’s time for the big cleanup. Everyone gets a garden hose pressed in the hands to get everything clean again. Together with the fire brigade, the houses and streets are rinsed clean, and the people also spray each other clean.
When you are in Valencia during this event, it is really advisable to come to Buñol to watch this festival (or of course to participate in the fight). There is a good connection between Valencia and Buñol by train, but it is also possible to rent a car and go there.
Because the festival gets busier every year, the town asks for a small fee. This is mainly to prevent it from becoming too busy. The tickets are only 12 euros and can be purchased via the Tomatina website.
A few handy tips before you go to the festival:
- Put on comfortable shoes that can get dirty
- Put on old clothing so that you can throw it away afterward
- Take dry clothing with you for the return journey
- Take a water-resistant camera with you, or buy a case for your phone that can resist water
- Use goggles to prevent the tomatoes on your eyes