There are so many reasons to love Spain. The paella, the people, the sun, the sangria. And the fact that one of the biggest festivals every summer is a giant food fight.
On Wednesday, August 28th, a plethora of tourists and locals alike will flood the Valencian town of Buñol to partake in all the madness. And it gets completely out of control. In just one hour 30,000 pounds of tomatoes are pelted across the massive crowd, flooding the streets with luscious red pulp.
According to legend, it all started in the 1940s when disgruntled townsfolk decided to attack city councilmen during a town celebration by assailing them with tomatoes. The following year, a couple of rowdy kids decided to pre-plan the attack by bringing tomatoes from their home to commence the messy battle. Despite being briefly banned in the 50s, the tradition was eventually brought by popularity, and is now the biggest draw of the city.
At 10AM on the morning of the festival, a giant piece of ham is hung out on a pole in the middle of the town square. It’s a race to the top to retrieve the ham, ending with a loud signal inaugurating the start of the festival. Trucks upon trucks of tomatoes are brought into the crowd, and the biggest food fight in the world commences.
While you’ll find many people running the streets in full-on ensembles, the most well-prepped don swimsuits, googles, and nose plugs to combat the purée. Some of these folks are take it very seriously.
And while things are definitely bound to get uber-sloppy—on a wellness note, tomatoes are loaded with natural disinfectants. That means the combat will leave your skin stunningly vibrant and free from impurities. It’s pretty much the most out-of-the-box facial treatment one could possibly participate in.
All jokes aside La Tomatina is one of the biggest (and most chaotic) festivals of the world and totally worth a go if you find yourself in the region. It’s a spectacle to be seen to say the least. And who knows, it might just be the best thing you’ve done for your complexion this season.
Photo Credit: La Tomatina