The final Wednesday in August marks Spain’s messiest pageant. Held in Buñol, 40km west of Valencia, La Tomatina is a tomato-throwing spectacle that attracts greater than 20,000 revellers annually. Should you’re planning on changing into a part of the human passata, this text has all the knowledge that you must squeeze essentially the most out of this chaotic celebration.
Editor’s notice: the 2021 version of La Tomatina is cancelled because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The pageant is about to return in August 2022.
What occurs throughout La Tomatina?
The mayhem takes place in Buñol’s primary sq. and Calle del Cid. At round 9am a big greased pole with a ham hooked up to the top of it’s hoisted into the air, and there is a mad scramble as individuals wrestle towards one another to tug it down. At exactly 11am, no matter whether or not somebody has efficiently grabbed the ham (which is uncommon), a cannon is fired and over 120 tonnes of ripe, squishy tomatoes are tipped from vehicles to the ready crowd. For the subsequent hour, everybody joins in a frenzied, cheerful, anarchic tomato battle till a second cannon hearth alerts the top of play. Then it is a mad sprint for the closest native wielding a backyard hose.
The historical past of La Tomatina
The loopy food-fighting pageant of La Tomatina started in 1945, nevertheless it’s not identified why. Locals have quite a few theories, together with the favored story of disgruntled townsfolk attacking metropolis councilmen throughout a city celebration. Nonetheless, it may be attributed to something from an anti-Franco protest or just a enjoyable meals battle between buddies. Whichever approach it began, the townsfolk of Buñol loved it a lot that it was repeated yr after yr, lastly changing into an formally recognised celebration in 1952. Regardless of being canned briefly through the Nineteen Seventies for having no non secular significance, it has returned full-throttle yearly.
The pageant is now held in honour of the city’s patron saint, St Louis Bertrand, and the Mare de Déu dels Desemparats (Mom of God of the Defenceless).
Easy methods to get entangled
There are a number of methods to hitch the mayhem. Most individuals simply come for the day, arriving on the morning prepare from Valencia and heading again within the afternoon. However if you’d like the complete La Tomatina expertise, keep in Buñol for the week-long celebration, which includes music, dancing, parades and fireworks. The night time earlier than the battle, a paella cooking competitors is held the place ladies historically costume in white, and males forego shirts altogether.
Typically extra handy – and surprisingly reasonably priced – is becoming a member of a tour. Dozens of firms provide all the pieces from transport and entrance tickets to week-long extravaganzas. Among the many finest is Busabout, which provides a three-day day package deal together with lodging, return coach transfers, entrance ticket, merchandise, extra actions together with an after-party, and, comfortingly – security in numbers.
How a lot does it value to participate?
Participation prices €10; if you wish to pour the tomatoes off the truck you may need to fork out €750.
High suggestions for La Tomatina pageant
- Should you’re making your individual approach the pageant, attempt to buy your ticket prematurely from the pageant’s web site – they have an inclination to promote out on-line weeks previous to the occasion, however you may typically seize last-minute tickets from touts in Valencia if you wish to likelihood it.
- Lodging in Buñol usually books out prematurely, in addition to hostels in Valencia. You may discover a last-minute mattress someplace on the town, nevertheless it’s finest to get your lodging sorted as quickly as potential to keep away from stress.
- Should you’re catching the prepare from Valencia, attempt to get to the station for six.30am. Should you get the 7am prepare, you may be in Buñol for 7.45am and on the scene of the battle simply after 8am. The crowds at this level are solely simply beginning to collect, so you will get vantage level for the ham-on-the-pole. Should you arrive any later, you may wrestle to get near the motion. And you don’t want to overlook the ham-on-the-pole! Proper!?
- Plan your outfit – put on outdated garments and sneakers and think about bringing a pair of goggles to guard your eyes. A change of garments is a good suggestion – you will not be allowed on most buses again to Valencia in the event you’re lined in pulp.
- What you don’t convey to La Tomatina can be essential. The crazed tomato-throwers take no prisoners; cameras are seen as optimistic invites to pelt the proprietor.
- Guarantee tomatoes are squashed earlier than you throw them to keep away from injuring somebody. However be warned that others wont at all times be so type.
- For more information, try the La Tomatina web site.
Get extra journey inspiration, suggestions and unique provides despatched straight to your inbox with our weekly publication.
This text was first printed in June 2015, and final up to date in August 2021.