( La Tomatina )

La Tomatina (Spanish pronunciation: [la tomaˈtina]) is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in the east of Spain 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the Mediterranean, in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in a tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes. Since 1945, it has been held on the last Wednesday of August, during a week of festivities in Buñol.

 La Tomatina 25 August 2010 Tomato battle at Tomatina in 2006.

La Tomatina Festival started the last Wednesday of August in 1945 when some young people spent time in the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade. The young people decided to take part in a parade with musicians, Giants and Big-Heads figures. One participant's Big-head fell off, as a result of the festivities. The participant flew into a fit of rage, and began hitting everything in their path. There was a market stall of vegetables that fell victim to the fury of the crowd, as people started to pelt each other with tomatoes until the local forces ended the fruit battle.

The following year, some young people engaged in a pre-planned quarrel and brought their own tomatoes from home. Although the local forces broke it up, this began the yearly tradition. In the following years, the boys' example was followed by thousands of people.

La Tomatina was banned in the early 1950s by Francisco Franco due to the festival's lack of religious importance, however, this did not stop the participants, who were arrested. The people protested the prohibition and the festival was again allowed with more participants. The festivity was again canceled until 1957 when, as a sign of protest, a tomato burial was held. It was a demonstration in which the residents carried a coffin with a huge tomato inside. The parade was accompanied by a music band that played funeral marches. The protest was successful, and La Tomatina Festival was finally permitted and became an official festival.[1]

As a result of the report of Javier Basilio, a broadcaster from the Spanish television program called Informe Semanal, the festival started to be known throughout the rest of Spain. Since then, the number of participants increased year after year as well as the excitement about La Tomatina Festival. In 2002, La Tomatina of Buñol was declared a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary Department of Tourism due to its popularity.[2]

The 2020 event, which was to be its 75th anniversary, was cancelled in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. It had only been cancelled once before, in 1957, for political reasons.[3] Due to COVID-19, the 2021 event was also cancelled.[4]

^ Barr, Sabrina (28 August 2019). "What is La Tomatina, how did it begin and where does it take place?". The Independent. Retrieved 23 August 2021. ^ Studio, Socarrat. "La Tomatina – Página oficial". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017. ^ Donaldson, Emma (13 July 2020). "La Tomatina Festival 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19". idealista. Retrieved 5 July 2021. ^ "Buñol suspende La Tomatina 2021 (Buñol suspends La Tomatina 2021)". (in Spanish). Ayuntamiento de Bunyol (Bunyol Town Hall). 11 March 2021. Archived from the original on 16 June 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
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