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FANTASTIC FESTIVALS – La Tomatina – Spain

La Tomatina

La Tomatina or the tomato fight festival is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, a town located in the East of Spain. From the very inception in the year 1945, the festival has been held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Buñol. It is known as the world’s biggest food fight, where the participants throw more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes each other in the streets in a mock fight purely for fun and ride down those tomatoes-streaked slides having the time of their lives.

La Lomatina
La Lomatina Festival
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La Lomatina Festival

Though basically a tomato fight, La Tomatina starts with an event known as ‘Palo jabon’. The ultimate aim of the event is to climb a greased pole and unload ham from its top. When someone succeeds in the mission, authorities give the signal to start the tomato fight. Water from trucks fired into the air from all corners of the street. At the same time number of trucks arrive at the spot and provide tomatoes in abundance. Usually, the fight lasts for an hour, after which the whole town square seems to be covered with tomato paste. Fire trucks then hose down the streets and participants also often use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomato paste from their bodies. After the wash, the village cobblestone streets become completely clean due to the acidity of the tomato.

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La Lomatina Festival
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Jubilation of La Tomatina

The holiday for the festival was banned Francisco Franco for having no religious significance, but it returned with a bang in the 1970s after his demise.

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Fun of La Tomatina

Since 1975, the patron of the town of Buñol has taken the responsibility to organize the whole festival and supply the tomatoes for the participants free of cost. As the end result, the number of participants increased substantially from the next year. It is interesting to note that, the Secretary, Department of Tourism declared it a Festivity of International Tourist Interest.

Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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