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La tomatina: Spain’s Red War

The food-fighting festival of La Tomatina is not something new, it began in 1945. The town-men have numerous theories of the reason behind this festival, including the popular story of disgruntled townsfolk attacking the city councilmen during celebration. Whichever way it started, the townsfolk of Buñol enjoyed it so much that it was repeated traditionyear after year, finally becoming that it officially became a  recognised celebration in 1952. Despite being canned briefly during the 1970s for having no religious significance, it has returned full-throttle every year and is enjoyed by everyone. 

 

During the week leading up to the famous tomato war, parades, fireworks, music, dancing and the paella cook-off contest draw visitors to Buñol for the annual fiesta. When the day of the great battle starts, local shopkeepers cover their shopfronts with sheets of plastic while more than twenty thousand local folks and tourists gather to the streets, as the huge trucks loaded with almost 125,000 kilos of ripe tomatoes chucked down into the famous Plaza del Pueblo. Between 11am and 1pm, the streets are covered with red juice, pavements are all spattered with tomato pulps and the participants resemble to fun zombies. 

As soon as the siren that signals the end of the fest starts, the massive clean-up operation gets started. Even after the clean-up, the fruity sweet aroma keeps lingering in the streets.

 

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