History of La Tomatina: The famous tomato battle of Tomatina, which takes place annually on the last Wednesday of August in the Valencian town of Bunol, is known all over the world: during the holidays, the streets of the provincial town are filled with thousands of tourists who came here from all five continents. But few people know the history of the tomato battle, which brought Bunyol such grandiose fame.
It all started on the last Wednesday of August 1945, when a traditional colorful procession of giant dolls, dedicated to the annual harvest holidays, was like in Bunyola. A group of noisy youths decided to shamelessly get into the crowd of spectators who came a few hours before the action to take the best places. Needless to say, such impudent behavior provoked indignation among the inhabitants of Bunyol, so among the already temperamental Spaniards, and even warmed up in the August sun, a scuffle ensued.
As a result, one of the young men, having lost control of the situation, pushed the defile participant, and he immediately appeared on the ground with a gigantic structure on his shoulders. This made the audience finally lose patience and common sense. Unfortunately for troublemakers, in the immediate vicinity was a vegetable shop. The furious crowd began to throw tomatoes and all that fell into the hands of shameless youths until the ripening police put an end to this vegetable massacre.
But the story does not end there. Exactly one year later, the same youths, armed with tomatoes, again came to the procession of giant dolls. This time, to get even with last year’s offenders and again become the heroes of local news. It was these young men who became the instigators of Tomatina – a Spanish holiday that will soon conquer the whole world.
Despite the fact that in the 50s of the last century Tomatina in Bunyol was officially banned, people still continued to arrange tomato battles, even under the threat of detention and a prison term. In 1957, the so-called “Tomato Burial” took place – a comic folk procession, during which the citizens of Bunyol carried a giant tomato through the city streets and buried it in a local cemetery to the sounds of a mourning march as a symbol of Tomatina’s death.
Over time, the fame of Tomatina went beyond the Valencian town of Bunyola, gaining fans all over Spain, which was largely due to a report by Javier Basilio, released in 1983. Therefore, the Bunyol authorities had no choice but to again legalize the Tomatina national holiday, which since then has been held annually on the last Wednesday of August.
From year to year, the number of Tomatina participants in Spain is growing exponentially, and photos and videos of the colorful battle fly around all the media on the planet. In 2002, the tomato battle of Tomatina in Bunyol was recognized as a National Cultural Heritage and since then continues to increase the number of fans around the world.