La Tomatina Kicks Off The World’s Biggest Food Fight

There’s no doubt Spain is the land of fiestas, and August is the month of La Tomatina – the world’s biggest tomato fight, which takes place each year in the town of Bunol, near Valencia.

Maybe it’s the country’s beautiful weather or maybe it’s the Spaniards’ exuberance, but when it comes to honoring a patron saint – because most of the Spanish fiestas have religious roots – nobody in Europe does it better than the passionate, vibrant and colorful Spanish nation.

La Tomatina Spain
Photo by Łukasz Lech

Alongside Valencia’s flamboyant Fallas, the famous San Fermin in Pamplona, the spectacular Malaga Fair or the enchanting Feria de Abril in Seville, La Tomatina stands among Spain’s most impressive fiestas.

Happening every year on the last Wednesday of August, La Tomatina is actually part of a week-long festival held in the honor of Virgin Mary and San Luis Bertran, Bunol’s patron saints. Therefore, La Tomatina 2012 is set to take place on August 29 between 11 am and 1pm, in the local Plaza del Pueblo.

The festival has pretty vague origins, as nobody knows exactly how it started. Between the many theories developed, the only certainty is that the tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Bunol ever since 1944.

The harmless fight consists of throwing wipe tomatoes in an entertaining every-man-for-himself battle. Once the water cannons are fired, tons of tomatoes brought here from Extremadura region are dropped on the streets, and the chaos begins.

After exactly one hour, the water cannons are fired again and the battle stops. Plenty of fire trucks take by storm the streets of Bunol in order to clean out the dirt, while participants head to the Bunol River to clean themselves. In a couple of hours everything looks brand new and visitors are invited to party with music, food and drinks at the local bars till the early hours of the morning.

Over 40,000 people, including locals, journalists and travelers from all over the world, come to Bunol each August to join the The World’s Biggest Food Fight. In addition to the famous tomato fight, the festival features various parades, music, dancing, fireworks and a paella cooking contest held right in the evening before, so maximum fun is guaranteed throughout the entire week.