• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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.

Story continues below…

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
'Sulking Ronaldo has to live with being subbed': Zidane
Ronaldo celebrates a goal before he was substituted in the game against Las Palmas. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Cristiano Ronaldo has to learn to live with being substituted after the Portuguese striker sulked off the field.

Basques and Galicians vote to unblock Spain's deadlock
Partido Popular candidate Alberto Nunez Feijoo voted in the election on Sunday. Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

Spain's Basque country and Galicia went to the polls Sunday in regional elections that may help unblock the long-lasting national political paralysis.

Feature
 Spanish cinema breaks taboo and talks ETA
A still from Justin Webster's documentary The End of ETA. Photo: The End of ETA

Documentaries on terror group ETA have been screened at San Sebastian film festival and met with applause, as the taboo fades.

 Spain's Socialists in crisis as political blockage takes toll
Pedro Sanchez has repeatedly said he won't support Rajoy. Photo: AFP

Spain's nine-month political paralysis is taking its toll on parties, and none more so than the Socialists who are facing a crisis, with talk of an imminent "coup" against leader Pedro Sanchez.

National anthem: Could Spain finally sing with one voice?
Spanish athletes have had to hum awkwardly for decades. Photo: AFP

Spain's parliament is being asked to consider a solution to one of nation's most enduring and embarrassing problems; what words to sing with the national anthem.

Spain's ten greatest parador hotels to visit this autumn
San Estevo parador in Galicia. Photo: rutea.es

Autumn is the perfect time to explore Spain's hidden corners and parador hopping is the best way to do it.

Spain's Basques go to polls as memories of violence fade
Basque regional president nationalist Inigo Urkullu (L) and Basque Nationalist Party-PNV's president Andoni Ortuzar (2nd L) in Bilbao. Photo: AFP

Could the results of the Basque elections have an impact on the national political deadlock?

Spanish parents call strike over too much homework
Do Spanish children get too much homework? Photo: AFP

Spanish parents have called for a “homework strike” to protest at the amount of extracurricular work they are expected to do with their children.

Family seeks funds for mother injured in Spanish bus crash
Julie Ann Fiegert was returning from a holiday of a lifetime. Photo: GoFundMe page

The family of an Australian woman left fighting for her life after a bus accident in Spain are trying to raise money for her medical expenses.

Second headless bison found at Spanish nature reserve

A mystery surrounding goings-on at a nature reserve in Spain deepened Thursday as a second European bison was found decapitated just days after staff discovered the headless body of the herd's dominant male.

National
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
International
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
National
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
National
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
International
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
Travel
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
International
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Technology
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
National
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
Society
Pregnant woman in niqab attacked by two men in Spain
National
Spanish café offers cut-price coffee to those with manners
Travel
What's on in Spain: September 2016
Travel
'We drank from animal troughs to survive'
National
Forest fires threaten Costa Blanca resort of Jávea
National
Loyal dog mounts vigil at hospital doors for sick owner
Politics
Five reasons why Spain's Socialists won't back Rajoy
National
It's a girl! Rare giant panda cub born in Madrid zoo
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
3,111
jobs available