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Culture in Spain: La Tomatina Tomato Fight

The 'Tomatina' Tomato Fight

La Tomatina tomato fight SpainSurely the worlds' biggest food-fight: every year around 30,00 people descend on the Spanish town of Bunol (in the Valencia region of Spain) to throw more than 240,000 pounds of tomatoes at each other.

The festival is started with a ham-on-a-stick contest where competitors raced up a pole to retrieve a smoked leg of ham. When the ham is cut down, people put on eye protection and cry for tomatoes as trucks dump the squishy produce onto the village streets. They then proceed to pelt each other with them until all have been used up.

The festival on the last Wednesday of August is called 'the Tomatina' and is basically a town-wide tomato fight. It is thought the tradition began in 1945 when a fight erupted among two young members of a carnival crowd. A vegetable stall was nearby in the town square and every started throwing tomatoes at each other. Exactly one year later, young people met at the square, but this time with their own tomatoes. Another food-fight started but was broken up by police.

In the following years this practice was banned by the authorities, but due to popular demand was given official recognition in 1959. This was only to occur if participants would respect the start and the end of tomato-throwing being announced with a banger.



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