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La Tomatina FAQs
La Tomatina is Spain’s famous tomato fight and the world’s biggest food fight. Stoke Travel operates two La Tomatina tour options – either at our beachside party camp, or in a hotel in Valencia city. We are the best option for travellers who want to get the party started and are looking to hang out with like-minded people from all over the world.
- The tomato fight is held every year on the morning of the last Wednesday in August, between 10 and 11AM. It is held in Buñol, a small village west of Valencia.
- More than 40,000 people take part, coming from all over the world.
- The fighters will throw more than 15 tonnes of tomatoes during the fight, despite it being held in an area that doesn’t grow tomatoes.
Why did La Tomatina start?
The history is hazy on this one, but the most accepted origin of La Tomatina is that a spontaneous food fight broke out back in 1945, when a local man became enraged after being pushed over and grabbed market tomatoes to hurl at everybody in sight. The following year local youths turned up on the same day prepared for the battle with tomatoes of their own. In the 1950s authorities banned La Tomatina, so it took on a rebellious air, with some seeing it as a way to act against the Spanish dictatorship. In 1957 authorities relented and La Tomatina became an official party in Buñol, celebrating the town’s patron saints.
Is Tomatina religious?
Not originally, but now there is an aspect of Tomatina that pays homage to the town’s patron saints, Louis Bertrand and the virgin mother. The religious aspect of La Tomatina seems more like an afterthought than an integral part of proceedings.
Where is La Tomatina celebrated?
Tomatina is celebrated in the town of Buñol, which is about 40 kilometers west of Valencia, Spain’s third largest city. Buñol is a small town so most visitors stay in Valencia as there is more accommodation and more to see and do. Valencia is located on the Mediterranean, about four hours south of Barcelona and three and a half hours east of Madrid. The city is accessed by air, rail, road and sea, and visitors to Buñol can drive or catch the train there, although with a heavy police presence and plenty of sangria going around, it’s advised that visitors take a private bus with an organised tour.
What are the rules of the Tomatina festival?
There are certain rules designed to keep locals and visitors safe during the tomato fight and surrounding parties.
- You are not allowed to enter the fighting street with any hard objects. This can include some cameras, glass bottles, etc. Also, if you are taking a camera it has to be very waterproof, as well as being resistant to the acid found in tonnes of tomatoes.
- No tearing and throwing your t-shirt, and no ripping at other people’s clothes. This used to be a part of the festivities but it can be very creepy for women to have their clothes ripped at by strangers. It’s not allowed anymore.
- Squeeze and soften the tomatoes before throwing them. You may be tempted to hurl a firm tomato, but to be safe give it a little bashing first.
- Clear a path for the tomato trucks to dump their goods. The streets are extremely narrow and when the trucks come through it can get tight. Help your fellow tomato fighters by clearing a path so more tomatoes can be dumped.
- Stop throwing tomatoes when you hear the second cannon fire. The first cannon signals the start of the fight, but when you hear the second it’s time to make your way out of the fighting street and down to the river to clean yourself.
La Tomatina Tips
- Wear clothes that you don’t mind destroying. There’s no way to avoid becoming completely covered in tomato pulp.
- Same goes with shoes. You’re going to want something that has decent grip and covers the top of your feet. You will lose sandals in the food fight. Your shoes will be severely damaged in the tomato battle. Near to Valencia train station there are discount shops that will have cheap shoes for you to use once and throw away.
- Goggles aren’t a terrible idea, although they will fog up/your vision will be obscured by tomato pulp on the lens.
- Before the tomato fight revellers will try and snatch a leg of cured ham from the top of a greasy pole. This is more difficult – and more entertaining – than it seems.
Stay with Stoke Travel for La Tomatina. We are the people who get the party started, with our all-inclusive packages meaning that you don’t have to worry about anything but getting to know all the legends partying with you. Book now!
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