Spain’s La Tomatina festival has inspired many similar celebrations in the world. You may have seen tomato fight in many movies, music albums, and YouTube videos. We all have the basic idea that it is a festival people celebrate in the Valencian town of Bunol, but that’s not enough. If you’re planning to attend the La Tomatina festival, or want to know more about it, here’s an ultimate guide to La Tomatina Festival from where you can get everything you need to know.
This is how La Tomatina festival started
Let’s share some handy information from the Ultimate Guide to La Tomatina Festival. On the internet and in many books, you’ll get to see different versions of the festival’s origin story. Here’s the one which is the most popular among all and is said to be the true history of the La Tomatina festival.
The story includes the residents Bunol witnessing a town parade sometime in 1945. People were wearing giant-headed costumes. During the parade, someone fell off and in anger, he started pelting fruits on others. The local kids went to nearby fruit shops and assaulted the person with vegetables. The following year, people recreated the event. This time, the fruit fight was bigger than before. The incident led the local administration to forcefully stop the participants. Later the festival was banned. Some participants were even arrested, but they continued this trend despite the fact that local police already warned them.
And then it was declared the Festivity of International Tourist Interest
Let’s share another useful information from the Ultimate Guide to La Tomatina Festival. Many times, the local administration canceled this festival. People started taking interest in the Tomatina fight, and the authority banned the festival again till 1957. As a part of the protest, residents carried a coffin putting a big tomato inside. The tomato burial was accompanied by a music band. The protest was successful and the La Tomatina Festival was allowed and it was also considered as an official festivity.
After this incident, more participants started appearing to attend the festival. Excitement about the festival increased in the other parts of Spain as well. In 2002, the Secretary Department of Tourism declared the La Tomatina festival of Bunol the Festivity of International Tourist Interest.
People started following the unofficial rulebook
Let’s take a look at the insiders’ story from the Ultimate Guide to La Tomatina Festival. The local administration has set some basic guidelines for participants. There are some unofficial rules people follow during the event. People are not allowed to throw hard objects such as water bottles or other hard fruits. Once the event turned out to be a fight between genders. To avoid any violence, participants are restricted from tearing and throwing tee-shirts.
There are some other rules as well. All the participants must squash tomatoes before throwing them to avoid injuries. The security staff stays there to ensure the safety of people. And one thing you must remember is that you should not carry a camera, bag or any other object to the festival. If you do so, you will not be allowed to enter the festival area.
And now everyone is allowed to participate
You need to buy tickets to participate in the La Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain. You can go there and become a part of it. Everything is well-organized these days. For access to La Tomatina, you can buy tickets online. Carry your ticket and reach Bunol. You will need to show your ticket to the official exchange point. From there, you will get official merchandise (bracelet) and a receipt. Wear your bracelet and enter the battle zone to celebrate the festival. Every year, people from different parts of the world take part in the La Tomatina festival in Bunol.
You don’t have to carry tomatoes with you
Don’t carry anything, just go there. The La Tomatina festival is not the same as it was in 1945. The organizers make all the arrangements. Tomatoes come loaded in trucks and staff members throw tomatoes from these trucks. There’s no fixed number for how many tomatoes they use during the festival. Reports say that 145000 kg tomatoes were thrown in 2015.
Every year, the La Tomatina festival is celebrated on the last Wednesday of August. So, if you’re unsure about the date, check the calendar and make your bookings accordingly.
And here’s how to reach Bunol for La Tomatina
The festival is hosted in the city of Bunol, Spain. You can easily reach the town via bus, car or train. Due to the crowd that comes from different parts of the country and the world, many public places and entrance areas remain closed on the event date.
If you’re traveling in a car, to get to the La Tomatina festival in Bunol from Valencia, take the A3 highway towards Madrid and take the exit 322 toward Bunol. It is not more than a 25-mile journey. If you are more suitable for roads, you can also take a taxi from the Sant Isidre train station to reach Bunol. If you’re taking the train, once after you get down from the train in Bunol, you will have to walk for around 10 minutes to reach the main festival area. Follow the crowd or ask people to get to the La Tomatina festival area. You can also check out some exciting pictures from La Tomatina festival.
A few things to remember
The fight doesn’t last from morning to evening. Usually, the fight lasts for an hour, so make sure that you show up early as the fight starts around 11 am local time. If you’re not keeping well or if you are allergic to tomatoes or citric acid, don’t take part because, during the entire fruit fight, you’ll be covered in tomato juice and water.
If you’re traveling to Bunol with children, make sure keeping an eye on kids. Maintain distance from the trucks and don’t leave the kids alone. Write your contact number and hotel address on a plastic card and put it in their pocket. You can also write down your contact details on your child’s arm or shirt.
Pay attention to the warning fireworks and when the second warning fire is shot, stop throwing tomatoes. The La Tomatina festival is one of the most exciting festivals in Europe as well as in the world. The organizers make sure maintaining peace, but you should also respect the rules and follow the guidelines.
Image Credit: tomatofestivalspain