Friday, 29 August 2008

Spain's 'Tomatina' Festival

Spain's 'Tomatina' Festival - 27 August 2008

bout 40,000 people descended on the Spanish town of Bunol to take part in the Tomatina festival.

The food fight draws visitors from around the world to the normally quiet village in eastern Spain. They pelt each other with ripe tomatoes until they become soaked through with juice and covered in pulp, getting through as much as 100,000kg of the ripe fruit.

The local council usually publishes a list of pelting etiquette, on how to fight without hurting anyone.

Tradition dictates that the crowd cools off in a nearby river once the tomato supply runs dry.

The festival started in the 1940s when a group of young friends began throwing their lunch at each other near a vegetable stand in the town square.

They met again the next year to pelt each other along with passers-by, creating an annual tradition that is dedicated to the town's patron saint, St Luis Bertran. (Independent Television News Limited 2008. All rights reserved.)


It all started on the last Wednesday of August 1945, when the young people of that time were in the village square, where the “Tomatina” is celebrated. As the local authorities and the music band were parading during a festival of “giants and big-headeds”, a group of these young people who wanted to participate in the festival pushed the other young people who were wearing costumes. One of the young people fell on the floor, and when he got up he started to hit everyone there, so everybody started fighting. Nearby there was a vegetable market stall in the street with the boxes of vegetables ready to be sold. The young people started to throw tomatos to each other until the police took control and stopped that “battle” and ordered the responsible party to pay for the damages. The following year, the young people of the village repeated the “battle” but they brought their own tomatos from home. Again this was broken up by the local police. After repeating the same celebration during consecutive years, the festival was non-officially established. These people did not imagine that they had established a tradition that would grow year by year.

In the beginning of the fifties the festival was forbidden by the City Hall of Bunol. But it did not stop some people from repeating the event and they were imprisoned. The village asked for the festival to be allowed and they insisted so much that finally the local authorities agreed to allow it. Each year there were more and more people participating in the festival, they had their pockets full of tomatos and they were ready to throw water to each other, to jump in the fountains and to participate in other ‘loutish acts’. The problem was that this battle also involved the people who were only interested in watching and sometimes there were important people being ‘attacked’. So the festival was forbidden again.

In 1955 and as a protest the people celebrated ‘the tomato funeral’, a big demonstration where the villagers carried a coffin with a big tomato inside and they were accompanied by the band of music playing funeral marches. In 1957, the festival was definitely allowed and nowadays the City Hall organises and promotes this festival which made them famous all over the world.

The festival became popular all over Spain due to the Javier Basilio’s report, broadcasted in the TV program Informe Semanal.

Since 1980, the City Hall supplies the people with the tomatos, and every year more and more tons of tomatos are used, also there are more and more visitors.

On the 27 August 2002, the General Tourism Office awarded the Tomatina of Bunol with the title of "Festival of International Tourist Interest".

La Tomatina Festival du Gaspillage
Caricato da polobylimsa

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