La Tomatina is a popular tourist attraction that is often called as “The World’s Largest Vegetable Fight.” The history of this festival was started on the last Wednesday of August 1945. During that time, the town square, where the “Tomatina” is traditionally held nowadays, was crowded with young people to watch a Gigantes and Cabezudos parade (a giant carnival figures with a grotesque head). Suddenly, one of the participants fell down and when he stood up, he started to beat everyone around and as the result, everybody got caught in a fight. The young people involved in the fight took any tomatoes or vegetables from the vegetables stall nearby and started to throw them each other until the police broke up the battle and those responsible for the riot need to pay for the damages. The next year on the same Wednesday of August the youths of the town met again but this time with their own tomatoes.
This festival had been banned for so many times and only approved when the council understanding that the tomatoes only can be thrown at specific time. This year the festival takes place on August 26th, 2015. The festival began way back in 1944 but there is no known religious or political basis for it. Some people guess it began as a food fight among children or that local townspeople chucked tomatoes to show their dislike of a local politician. Whatever the case, the event caught on and has happened every year until the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco banned the festival for “having no religious significance.” However, the town resumed the event after Franco died in the ’70s.
History and Origins of La Tomatina
There is no one definitive version of how La Tomatina started, but the tradition of a tomato fight has taken place in Bunol since at least 1944, although the festival was banned during much of the Franco years for having no religious significance – it was revived with gusto in the 1970s. Theories on why the first tomato fight took place include a food fight among friends, a juvenile class ware between bare-footed Trotskyist macarras and upper class pijos from Madrid on summer vacation, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, the rubbishing of a bad musician, a democratic protest against the city council and (our favorite) the ensuing aftermath of an accidental truck spillage. Whatever the cause, the folk of Bunol obviously thought it was a mighty grand idea and promptly re-invoked the tradition the following year! Today from 20,000 to 50,000 people come from all over the world to get fruity with one another!
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