It’s Not A Bloodbath… It’s La Tomatina

Picture of the La Tomatina festival with a man taking cover from the onslaught of tomatoes.
When I first saw this picture out of the corner of my eye I was a bit shocked.

In the split second I had before taking a deeper look, it appeared to be a picture of a scene from a horrific war zone, with a guy crouching low to avoid flying bullets and the red blood of other more unlucky people splattered all over the place.

A gruesome scene! Or so I thought lol.

On closer inspection I saw that the picture was unlikely to be a scene from a war zone and that the red stuff looked suspiciously like…ketchup.

That’s when I realized what it really was. Well, actually I couldn’t remember the name of the event but I thought to myself “Hey it’s that weird tomato festival they have in Spain every year.”

La Tomatina is the name, and a massive snowball fight with tomatoes is the game.

You might recognize La Tomatina from seeing footage shown on the news around the time of year La Tomatina is held. The footage always shows mobs of wild-eyed and grinning people slipping and sliding around in lumpy tomato soup and, most importantly, having a fantastic time pummeling each other with an infinite supply of tomatoes.

Picture of a group of tourists posing in tomatoes during the La Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain.
The awesome pictures of La Tomatina shown in this post were taken by Flydime, who attended the festival in 2010 and kindly agreed to let them be posted here in all their tomato covered glory.

But what’s with the whole throwing tomatoes around thing? And where do they even get all those tomatoes from anyway?

Apparently there are a few differing stories out there as to how La Tomatina started, but most of them say that the spark for La Tomatina happened when some young people staged a food fight during a parade in a town called Buñol, using veggies from a nearby vegetable stand.

The police weren’t happy about this and broke things up, forcing the people to pay for damages done by crossfire from the food fight.

The next year people showed up again to stage a food fight, but this time they brought tomatoes from home to use. Once again the police weren’t happy and broke up the food fight. But each year more and more people kept showing up for a tomato fight during the parade and it started to snowball into a tradition.

Authorities tried to resist, and even jailed many of the food fight participants, but the townspeople of Buñol demanded that the young people be released from jail.

Picture of a woman throwing a tomato at the camera during the La Tomatina festival which is held in Bunol Spain.
Eventually authorities figured it was easier to just make the tomato fight official so that they could at least try to keep it contained through rules and restrictions.

But from the looks of things the rules haven’t put a damper on the crazy food fight that is La Tomatina.

And where do all those tomatoes come from? La Tomatina uses about 150,000 tomatoes each time and they are trucked in rom another part of Spain. Big trucks full of tomatoes roll in through the streets of the town and the tomatoes are…let’s just say not so tasty to eat, but they are perfect as weapons for an hour long food fight frenzy.

So, about that picture I’d seen out of the corner of my eye. Turns out the guy wasn’t crouching to avoid bullets in a war zone, just trying to find cover for a momentary respite of the tomato drenched chaos that is… La Tomatina.

p.s. all pictures (c)Flydime :).