25 Jul La Tomatina festival
La Tomatina is one of the most popular festivals held in Spain, on the last wednesday of August, each year, in the town of Buñol near to Valencia. Upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to experience this ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ where more than one hundred tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.
The origins of La Tomatina aren’t clear with several theories explaining how Buñol has become home of the world’s biggest tomato fight. However, the most likely explanation dates back to 1945 when an annual parade of enormous figures with big heads (Gigantes y Cabezudos) was passing through the streets of Buñol. It seems that some youngsters tried to join in the parade and accidentally knocked over one of the giants who got to his feet and started swinging out at everyone around him. In retaliation, the youngsters grabbed some tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stall and started throwing them at him until the police arrived to break things up.
The festival is in honour of the town’s patron saints, Luis Bertran and the Mare de Deu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary.
At around 11 am many trucks haul the bounty of tomatoes into the centre of the town, Plaza del Pueblo. Technically the festival does not begin until one brave soul has climbed to the top of a two-story high, greased-up wooden pole and reached the coveted ham at the top. In practice, this process takes a long time and the festival starts despite no one reaching the meaty prize. The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of water cannons, and the chaos begins.
After one hour, the fighting ends. At this point, no more tomatoes can be thrown.
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