Get Messy at One of Spain’s Most Popular Festivals: La Tomatina 

In Spain, the last Wednesday in August is when the messiest festival takes place – just about 40km west of Valencia, in Buñol. La Tomatina is a festival that consists of tomato-throwing, and it draws crowds of more than 20,000. If you are planning to attend this festival, all the information that you need to know is below!  

Get Messy at One of Spain’s Most Popular Festivals: La Tomatina

What Happens During La Tomatina?

Buñol’s main square, along with Calle del Cid, is where the festival takes place. At about 9 a.m., a ham is hoisted into the air on a large greased pole, and people begin to struggle to pull it down. It is rare for someone to achieve this. At 11 a.m., a cannon is fired, and about 120 tons of squishy tomatoes are tipped from trucks into the crowds. The following hour is filled with people throwing tomatoes and engaging in cheerful battles. The second and final cannon is fired, which signals the end of the play. This is when everyone races to the local garden hoses. 

The History of the Festival

The La Tomatina festival began in 1945, but it is unknown why. There are theories from the locals that included one popular tale regarding unhappy townsfolk attacking the city councilmen during a celebration. There is also speculation that it was some anti-Franco protest. The point is, the townsfolk in Buñol enjoyed it and decided to repeat it every year. It was officially recognized in 1952 as a celebration. 

BUNOL, SPAIN – AUGUST 26: Revellers enjoy the atmosphere in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival on August 26, 2015, in Bunol, Spain. An estimated 22,000 people threw 150 tons of ripe tomatoes in the world’s biggest tomato fight held annually in this Spanish Mediterranean town. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

How to Join the Fun

You can choose to participate in the fun for only €10, or you can pay €750 if you want to pour the tomatoes off the truck. Many people come for just the day by taking a morning train from Valencia, and they go back in the afternoon. However, you can stay for the week-long celebration and enjoy the dancing, music, parades, fireworks, paella cooking competitions, and more.