Guest Author - Rachel Webb
The fight of flying tomatoes takes place in Buñol near Valencia every year, since it´s initiation which appears a bit vague, this fiesta is recreated on the last Wednesday of August.
The whole fiesta is several days but the main tomato fight is on the Wednesday between 11am and 1am. It may look like total chaos but there are some tips given by the local town hall to ensure everyones safety.
No throwing before the starter bang.
No bottles or any kind of objects which could provoke an accident.
You mustn't tear t-shirts.
Tomatoes have to be crushed before throwing so they can't hurt anybody.
Respect the lorries which carry the tomatoes.
You must stop throwing tomatoes when the second banger is fired.
So if this sounds like fun to you please respect all the tips, this fiesta has a great record with no mishaps – just plenty of mess.
Buñol is a smalll town with a normal population of around 9,000 people, on La Tomatina day this can increase to 30,000 people. You really need to book accommodation in advance, Buñol has very little to offer in accommodation, the nearest main town is Valencia about 40km away. Due to the incredible popularity of this little town and it´s fiesta, even in Valencia it´s wise to book accommodation well in advance of the party, remember it´s not only party time but main holiday season too.
There are trains from Valencia at 8.08, 9.08, 10.08, the trip takes around 50 minutes but again think ahead to the hordes of people trying to get to the same place as you, don´t leave it to the last minute. The train times can be checked on www.renfe.es.
Don´t forget if you´re planning on a tomato fight, you´ll need some clean clothes to change into or you won´t be getting on that return train! There are some public showers near the river.
La Tomatina – the history
According to some historians the origins of the fight stem from a practical joke.
A musician, playing and dancing badly in the square was thought to be so bad that a few vegetable targets were aimed at him. The surrounding people obviously agreed and snatched tomatoes from a nearby stall to hurl at him too, that rapidly progressed in the free for all battle, which is celebrated today.
The other version of La Tomatina fiesta says it began in 1945. The town plaza was crowded with people to watch the Gigantes y Cabezudos parade literally giants and big heads, massive carnival figures with distorted heads.
Some of the youth decided to join the parade, and began pushing in through the crowd. One of them fell over and got up punching those around, which became a brawl. The crates of tomatoes on a nearby vegetable market became missiles until the police broke up the riot. Damages had to be paid for, but the youths didn’t forget.
The following year they met on the town square with their own tomatoes, had another battle and were again stopped by the police.
The authorities banned the celebration, and in true Spanish style it has continued ever since!
If you’re looking to find hotel in Valencia or anywhere else, Hotels combined is a fabulously quick website that searches all the main favourites to come up with a choice of the best prices for you. Just type in the city or town you’re searching for and they’ll tell you all the hotels available.