Thousands of people pelt each other during La Tomatina in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
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After 2 years of the corona pandemic, ‘La Tomatina‘ is back. Today thousands of people pelted each other again in the main street of Buñol in Valencia. The tomato festival is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. However, despite all the festivities, the event can also count on criticism. 

On the last Wednesday of August, the festival has been celebrated in Buñol (Valencia) for years, in which thousands of people pelt and smear each other with overripe tomatoes. However, due to the corona pandemic, the festival could not continue for two years. But on August 31, 2022, all brakes were released. 

This edition of La Tomatina is not only extra special because it has been able to continue as normal for two years now. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the event and 20 years since Spain officially designated the festival as an international tourist event. 

Thousands of people come to tomato festival in Spain 

For €12 people can participate in the tomato fight. Between 15,000 and 20,000 people took an active part in the event this afternoon. In addition, the event also attracts thousands of tourists every year. This was also the case this year, although there was less attention from Asian countries due to travel restrictions related to corona outbreaks there. 

Start full of adrenaline La Tomatina 

Just before the start signal of the tomato fight, people, mostly in swimwear and with diving goggles, were ready. The arrival of trucks signals the start of the battle. They unloaded 130 tons of overripe tomatoes over the participants in the main street of Buñol. 

Cogesa Expats

From that moment on it is a release of adrenaline and they start throwing tomatoes. According to various participants, this event is the perfect excuse to be a child again and forget the daily worries. 

Tomato festival turns into street party 

The tomato throwing itself takes just over an hour. Then, when the tomatoes came to everyone from every nook and cranny, the organisation made sure that people could shower together under garden hoses to leave the battlefield somewhat clean. The day does not end with that; the tomato fight continues with a party that will go on until the late hours. 

Origin of and criticism of La Tomatina in Valencia 

This tradition has been receiving considerable media attention since the 1980s and has been an internationally renowned event ever since. La Tomatina is inspired by a food fight in 1945 between local children in the tomato region. 

La Tomatina can also count on criticism every year because many people see it as food waste. The local councilor defends the event by stating that these tomatoes are grown especially for La Tomatina. “If La Tomatina were not held, many farmers would have a lot less income because they grow the vegetables especially for this event.” 

Also read: Festivals, ferias, and celebrations in Spain 2022


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