There is something strangely enticing about a festival dedicated to throwing squashed tomatoes.
That’s why thousands flood in to Valencia at the end of August each year with the specific intent of taking part in La Tomatina, held in nearby Buñol.
This year, La Tomatina takes place on August 28th.
La Tomatina is rumoured to have begun as a fight during a parade in 1945. Tomatoes were stolen from a nearby vegetable stall and used as missiles until police arrested the perpetrators and made them pay for the fruit. The next year, they brought their own tomatoes to the parade in order to reenact the fight. Despite a ruling in 1950s that the annual messy event must stop, followed by a sarcastic tomato funeral parade, La Tomatina lives on.
Last year, in excess of 45,000 people joined in, throwing around 100 tons of squashed ripe tomatoes.
There are a few simple rules participants are asked to follow to help make this colourful and messy event a success:
- Do not bring bottles or hard objects as they can cause accidents and hurt other participants
- Do not rip other people’s T-shirts
- You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them as this reduces the impact
- Ensure you keep a safe distance from the lorries carrying tomatoes
- As soon as you hear the second shot (horn), you must stop throwing tomatoes
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