• Spain's news in English
 

Spain's Tomatina festival 2013: Top photos

The Local/AFP · 28 Aug 2013, 17:36

Published: 28 Aug 2013 17:36 GMT+02:00

Defying sheets of rain and stormy skies, masses of tomato-stained people from around the world -- led by Australians, Japanese and Britons - engaged in battle in the Plaza Mayor square of Buñol, eastern Spain.

Many wore shower caps under the rain and goggles to protect their eyes from the acidic juice of the tomatoes, which must be squashed before they are hurled at fellow participants. Some people dressed as tomatoes.

In driving rain, some people who had partied through the night were singing, clapping and still taking swigs of wine and sangria directly from the bottle.

Check out the best photos from Spain's La Tomatina festival 2013.

"It is one of the most famous festivals in western Europe and it is safer than running with a bull," said 22-year-old Brad Fisher from Sydney, who came with a tour group of 700 people wearing a mustard-coloured shirt with a ketchup logo.

The Tomatina has significant advantages over Spain's Pamplona bull-running festival, he explained.

"One hundred and thirty tonnes of tomatoes is a lot but it's still better than a 500-kilo bull."

This year, for the first time, participants are paying a minimum of €10($13).

Prices go up to €750 to get up on one of the six trucks bringing in the tomatoes.

Some 5,000 free tickets have been set aside for Buñol residents.

Organizers have cut the number of participants by half citing safety concerns, recruiting 180 safety officials, 50 private security, police, nine ambulances, and several medical helicopters.

Buñol Mayor Joaquin Masmano Palmer says the new fee helped organizers to control crowd numbers but he has also admitted that the food fight, which has cost €140,000 to stage this year, represents a heavy burden for a town with a debt of €4.1 million.

For the first time, a private company, SpainTastic, has been charged with selling entry tickets to the Tomatina, sparking concern that recession-hit Spain's town festivals may be on the path to privatization.

Among the top ticket buyers were Australians with 19.2 percent of the total, Japanese with 17.9 percent, Britons with 11.2 percent, Spaniards with 7.8 percent and Americans with 7.5 percent.

About 60 percent of the tickets went to people aged 18 to 35. The oldest was 82.

Tomatina T-shirts, caps and coffee mugs are on sale, too.

Japanese tourist Keiko Jinhouchi, 28, said she was spending a week in Barcelona with two friends from Tokyo and they decided to enter the fray.

"It's my first time in Spain, we're here for the day. Because it's fun," she said.

Fellow Japanese Kohei Onizaki, equipped with swimming goggles, had a tomato painted on one cheek and a Japanese flag on the other.

"There is a very famous TV show in Japan where a famous person joins this festival. It's a very famous festival," he explained.

Though the origins of the event are unclear, it is thought to have its roots in a food fight between children during a parade in the mid-1940s.

It has grown in size as international press coverage has brought more and more people to the festival.

After the fight, many of the revellers traditionally head to the local river to wash off the pulp. In this year's rain, that may not be necessary.

Check out the best photos from Spain's La Tomatina festival 2013.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.es)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spanish police hunt for Moroccan hashish in the Strait of Gibraltar
Packs of hashish seized by the Spanish police in 2013. Photo: AFP/Handout Spanish police

Spanish police hunt for Moroccan hashish in the Strait of Gibraltar

11 hours ago

Morocco has become the world’s top producer and exporter of hashish over the past decades and, with just 14 kilometres separating northern Morocco from Spain’s southern Andalucia region, Spanish police have their work cut to stem the flow of illegal drugs.

Astronomers on Quixotic quest to immortalize Cervantes with a star
The star currently known as Mu Arae and author Miguel de Cervantes. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Astronomers on Quixotic quest to immortalize Cervantes with a star

1 day ago

Some celebrities get the honour of having their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But a group of Spanish astronomers have something more cosmic in mind for their own literary star.

Catalan ruling party hit by graft probe ahead of September election
Police arrive at the headquarters of CatDem in Barcelona. Photo: Josep Lago / AFP

Catalan ruling party hit by graft probe ahead of September election

1 day ago

An anti-corruption operation targeted Catalonia's ruling CDC party on Friday, tainting a separatist coalition that wants the wealthy region to secede from Spain if it wins a regional election next month.

What's on in Spain: Sept 2015
Bilbao will host the Red Bull Extreme Cliff Diving Finale. Photo: Diego Jambrina / Flickr

What's on in Spain: Sept 2015

1 day ago

From Roman battle re-enactments, to music festivals to cliff diving, there are lots of great events happening in Spain this September.

Travel chaos threat as September strikes called at Spanish airports
The strikes will take place across Spain on four days in September

Travel chaos threat as September strikes called at Spanish airports

1 day ago

Spanish airport workers have called a series of strikes for September threatening to cause significant delays for holidaymakers.

Emotional homecoming for granny jailed for refusal to demolish home
Photo: Screenshot from RTVE broadcast.

Emotional homecoming for granny jailed for refusal to demolish home

1 day ago

A grandmother who was sent to prison for refusing to see her family made homeless has been released after becoming a cause celebre and winning sympathy across Spain.

Fake traffic police arrested for robbing tourists on Costa Blanca
The uniforms used by the suspects to allegedly rob tourists in fake traffic stops. Photo: Alicante Civil Guard.

Fake traffic police arrested for robbing tourists on Costa Blanca

1 day ago

The Spanish Civil Guard arrested two men who posed as cops to carry out at least twenty robberies by pulling unsuspecting tourists over on 'routine traffic checks'.

Madrid terrorist suspect ran Isis cell planning massacres in Spain
The suspected jihadist was arrested in Madrid on Tuesday. Photo: Interior Ministry

Madrid terrorist suspect ran Isis cell planning massacres in Spain

1 day ago

A 26-year-old who called himself "Salami Jihadi" is accused of running an Islamic State recruitment network that wanted to "carry out massacres and create a climate of mass panic and instability" in Spain.

Barcelona draws up battle lines to curb Airbnb type tourism boom
Screenshot from an Airbnb YouTube advert

Barcelona draws up battle lines to curb Airbnb type tourism boom

1 day ago

Barcelona's new mayor is drawing up the battle lines in a bid to crackdown on uncontrolled tourism but Airbnb insists that there is a simple solution.

Spanish public radio removes show on Jews and Satanism amid outcry
RNE pulled the programme entitled "The Jewish People: Propagator of the Satan Cult". Photo: AFP

Spanish public radio removes show on Jews and Satanism amid outcry

1 day ago

Spain public radio RNE said it had removed an episode of a programme that linked Jews to Satanism from its website after receiving complaints from Jewish groups.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Hermit wanted for remote hilltop shrine. The immoral need not apply
National
Fury as archaeological site ruined and replaced with picnic table
National
‘I should be so lucky’: The Syrian refugee chasing his dream in Spain
National
Pensioner turns priceless fresco into 'Monkey Jesus': The Opera
Travel
Off the beaten track: Fourteen of the best kept travel secrets in Spain
Travel
Away from the hordes: Spain's ten most gorgeous seaside towns
National
Looking for a holiday romance? Come to Spain
National
Battle of the fizz: Cava takes on champagne
National
The ten most repressive points of Spain's gag law
National
Fireman fired for using hose to fill his own pool
National
What recovery? Spanish reject economic 'spin'
Hottest July ever: Spain sizzled in record month
Travel
13 delicious reasons to be a vegetarian in Spain
Travel
Eight of the most crazily cool hotels in Spain
Travel
What's on in Spain: August 2015
National
Urban allotments thrive in crisis-hit Spain
Features
10 facts you didn't know about Spanish wine
National
Best place to commute to London? It's Madrid
National
Gazpacho: Spaniards are going crazy for cold soup
Travel
Seven silly TripAdvisor comments about Spain
Politics
Hot or not? Politicans in Spain are rated on looks
National
Spanish town gives pets equal rights as citizens
National
VIDEO: Seagull steals camera for amazing bird's eye selfie
National
Spanish town brings in compulsory siesta law
National
Hero cops save newborn baby dumped in trash
National
Top 10 Spanish treats to keep you cool in summer
National
Catholic group calls for sex-segregated beaches
National
Spanish chef dumps Trump over racist slurs
National
Madrid mayor to rid city of dictator Franco
National
The survivor's guide to running with the bulls
National
The ten most repressive points of Spain's gag law
National
Spain celebrates ten years of gay marriage
Travel
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
National
Woof! The top ten dog-friendly beaches in Spain
National
Driver fined €80 for biting fingernails at the wheel
National
Castle for sale, one-time pad of mad queen, €15 million
National
And the most beautiful plaza in Spain is...?
Politics
Spanish mayor's rogue little toes go viral
Top that! Italy snatches pizza title from Spain
National
Diphtheria is 'Russian roulette with real bullets'
Politics
French PM takes flak for taking his kids on state jet to footy final
National
Spain's little 'prince' shamed for racist rant
National
Spain world's second best for work-life balance
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,056
jobs available