Back in 1945, a group of unruly teens began a riot during a parade in the tiny Spanish town of Bunol. Using tomatoes they picked out from a vegetable stand, they began throwing these juicy ammunition at random strangers until they were suspended by the police. The next year, on the same last Wednesday of August, they did the stunt again. And again the next year, and the next year. And so La Tomatina officially became a tradition.
Quite an unusual origin for a world-famous festival. Now La Tomatina stands as a celebration of the riotous years of our youth. In its recent years, up to 20,000 locals and internationals come together in the narrow streets of this town to engage in one of the world’s biggest food fights. About 150,000 tomatoes are trucked in as ammunition for the wild war-thirsty crowd. The actual war lasts only for an hour, enough to flood the streets with thick, red, pulpy mush for the party animals to wade in manic abandon. But at the sound of the final gunshot, the police break out the fight and party’s over.
Tomato warriors are encouraged to wear gloves and goggles during the fight, as the tomato juice’s acidity could harm the eyes and skin. After the fray, party-goers head over to the local river for washing off.
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