Guest Author - Rachel Webb
No nation on earth is quite as good at enjoying itself and throwing a party as Spain. There are so many fiestas, almostt every village and hamlet has at least one a year so even if you could attend more than one a day you wouldnīt be able to see them all in your lifetime!
La Tomatina in Buņol, Valencia has to be the messiest of all. Itīs a Tomato Battle where thousands of pounds of ripe tomatoes are thrown around the plaza
Buņol hosts the world's largest vegetable fight on the last Wednesday of every August. The battle is part of a week-long celebration that ends with the messy part of all - the tomato battle.
La Tomatina started in the forties when a number of friends started a tomato fight for unknown reasons. It's unclear whether the initial volley was aimed at city officials or simply pedestrians unlucky enough to be in the line of fire. Soon enough, however, with their rowdy hooliganism drawing passers-by into the fray, everyone was having a great time. They had so much fun, in fact, that from that day forward, the fiesta has been celebrated annually and has grown ever bigger each year.
For a week leading up to the battle the town of Buņol is filled with parades, fireworks, food and street parties. The night before La Tomatina, the narrow streets beneath the Medieval bell tower are filled with tomatoes. Cauldrons of paella simmer over wood-burning fires and wine flows until the wee hours, to feed the troops before the battle begins.
Then in the early morning shops and businesses in the Plaza cover windows and doors in preparation for the messy onslaught. Large trucks rumble over the cobblestones and official instigators begin pelting the awaiting crows with their little sloppy, squishy tomatoes trucked in from the four corners of Spain.
Dressed in clothing doomed for the rubbish bin, more than 20,000 revellers retaliate and soon the streets are awash in seeds, pulp and tomatoes flesh.
Whenthe 90-odd thousands of tomatoes have been hurled in usually less than half an hour everyone then heads down to the river to clean up.