Located in the southeastern coast of Spain in the Valencia region, Buñol is a sleepy town for most of the year, until 20,000 lucky ticket holders descend on the last Wednesday in August for La Tomatina. Known as the world’s largest food fight, the whole downtown area gets covered in over one hundred tons of squished overripe tomatoes as townspeople and visitors alike wade into the fray. For one blissful hour, participants throw as many tomatoes as they can get their hands on. La Tomatina is the culmination of a week of celebrations throughout the town that pay tribute to their patron saints, Luis Bertran and the Mare de Deu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless).
No one is sure exactly how La Tomatina got its start. Most people believe it started in either 1944 or 1945, but that’s where people’s certainty ends. Some say it began as a class prank, while others insist that it started spontaneously, when a crowd of young kids wanted to participate in a local parade, but were told that they should sit and watch instead. The kids, annoyed at the pomposity of their parents and city officials, took out their frustration by throwing tomatoes at people walking the parade route. The next year, people decided to recreate the spontaneous event, and La Tomatina was born.
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com