By now, chances are you’ve heard of this festival held in Spain where people come together for just one day to do one thing, and one thing only: chuck tomatoes at each other. In what has been unofficially dubbed the world’s largest food fight, the Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain has grown significantly in popularity over the past decade and has become one of the biggest tourist events throughout the entire country. But what is the Tomatina Festival? How did it start? Where should you stay if you are trying to go? When does it take place? We have these answers and more so you can get to know the Tomatina Festival a little better.

History of the event

On the last Wednesday in August of 1945, there were some young people who decided to attend a festival in town and as a result of the energy and enthusiasm they put into the festival, one participant fell off his float. This participant got incredibly angry and started to hit everything in his path and soon others joined in the mayhem. A nearby vegetable stand became a part of the event and people began pelting each other with tomatoes until local officials stepped in and stopped the vegetable battle. The battle was re-created the next year, though officials stopped it almost immediately and La Tomatina was banned in the 1950s.

 

That’s one version of the story, and if you ask anyone, their version is sure to differ slightly. One thing is definite though: Eventually, the festival became official and after the media attention it received, the festival began gaining traction and recognition throughout Spain, then throughout the world. Since the 1960s, the number of participants has increased every year and in 2002, La Tomatina of Bunol was declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest by the Department of Tourism due to its success.

What is the Tomatina Festival?

Approximately 140 tonnes of squishy red tomatoes are trucked into the small town of Bunol in eastern Spain. They are dropped around the Plaza del Pueblo. La Tomatina begins at 11:00am with a bang and ends promptly one hour later at 12:00 with another bang. There are no rules, just pick up the nearest tomato, squish it a little to make more of an impact and let it fly! Beware that as often as you are flinging tomatoes towards others, others will be flinging tomatoes right back at you!

Location and 2015 Festival date

The Festival will take place on the last Wednesday in August: 26 Aug. 2015. The food fight begins and ends in the Plaza del Pueblo, in Bunol, Valencia, Spain.

Essentials for the Festival

If you are planning on attending the festival, use these tips to stay safe, get messy and have fun:

  • Wear old clothes that you don’t mind tossing after the event. If you have a ratty white undershirt that’s even better: the red of the tomatoes will stand in contrast to the white shirt and will make for cool pictures!
  • Wear shoes with a decent amount of grip so you aren’t slipping and sliding over the tomatoes. If you wear flip-flops you’ll probably lose them in the mess.
  • Bring goggles if you have them so you can see through all the flying mess! Plus, the goggles will keep the acidic juice out of your eyes and keep them from getting sore.
  • If you want to take pictures, be sure to use a waterproof camera or find a protective case for your normal camera.

The Tomatina Festival is the perfect excuse to let loose a little, enjoy a traditional celebration, get closer with local Spaniards and just have fun. There are no expectations, no real rules and no reason not to immerse yourself in the unusual but entirely rewarding experience of pelting tomatoes at total strangers. Before you leave, think about getting an international travel insurance policy from Cover-More to protect your health, your holiday and your happiness!