• Spain's news in English
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta

La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta

The Local · 29 Aug 2016, 11:30

Published: 29 Aug 2016 11:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

This year  organizers plan to supply some 160,000 tomatoes - an estimated 150 tonnes worth - with six trucks drafted in to carry all the fruity goodness ripe for pelting at partygoers.

Photo: Brittany / Flickr

Due to its massive growth in popularity - attracting some 45,000 people at its peak - La Tomatina is now a ticketed event to limit the number of tourists to the town. Only 22,000 tickets go on sale. The town's five thousands residents get free access but the remaining 17,000 attendees have to pay €10 for the privilege.

Photo: Reno Tahoe / Flickr 

The festival began in 1945 after a street brawl broke out near a vegetable store in the Valencian town of Buñol. The young people of the town decided they had so much fun that the next year they brought tomatoes from home, picked a quarrel in the street and had the food fight all over again.

READ MORE: Why Nigeria is furious over Spain's wasteful tomato festival

Photo: Biel Alino / Flickr

It wouldn’t be a true Spanish festival without ham or a Valenciano one without paella.  So alongside a paella cooking contest during the festivities, the actual street fight can only begin after the ‘palo jabón’, where a few brave participants climb up a greased wooden pole to reach a leg of ham.  

The tomatoes in the festival come from Extremadura, lauded for their cheap price, low quality and inferior taste, meaning that participants don’t feel too bad about squandering one of Spain' most prized foodstuffs.  

Photo: Reno Tahoe / Flickr 

However, tomatoes originally hail from the South American Andes, somewhere in the region of what would go on to become Peru.  They were first eaten by the Aztecs in Southern Mexico.  

In Europe, tomatoes weren’t always a benevolent fruit.  They’re part of the deadly nightshade family and were originally thought to be poisonous when they first entered Europe in the 16th century.  They were golden, which is why pomodoro, Italian for tomato, means ‘golden apple’.  

Photo: Lori Erickson / Flickr

Once the streets of Buñol are cleaned of all the tomatoes, the town looks brand spanking new.  Why? The acidity of the tomatoes acts as a disinfectant.  

As well as cleaning you from head to toe, tomatoes are the new beauty superfruit. Tomato juice and pulp can be used to cleanse and tone skin, shrink large pores and even condition dry hair.  So maybe treat La Tomatina as a spa day?

Story continues below…

Photo: Gabriel Gallo / AFP

Don’t worry about eating too many either - tomatoes hold just 18 calories per 100g and are an excellent source of anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, minerals the vitamins. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a unique anti-oxidant found in red fruits, which protects the skin from ultra-violet rays and is said to reverse signs of aging such as wrinkles and laughter lines.

If you are taking part then a pair of goggles might come in handy, to protect your eyes from the hazardous tomato hurling and participants are requested to squash the fruits before pelting each other so they hurt less.

By Sophia Smith Galer 

Related links:

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available