Today is the 70th Anniversary of what I like to see as proof that humanity is great at turning negatives into positives – La Tomatina. The day is already on its way to being “painted red”, yet not from any kind of evil, hatred or violence. Today is already vibrant from the juicy, vibrant redness of one of the best food fights of all times. And it’s been going on for 70 years! What started decades ago as an actual fight, soon became a fun, tradition. Go figure.
[mappress mapid=”5″]This unique occasion takes place in Bunol, a small town in the region of Valencia. It’s become so popular among visitors to Spain, that it’s been declared a Festivity of International Tourists. The local population of around 9,000 people expands to what has been reported in recent years as over 50,000 people! They fill the streets and public main square of the village starting mid-morning, when volunteers attempt to climb the greased pole that has a ham on top. Once someone makes the climb and knocks the ham off, all tomatoes break loose.
From large trucks, tomatoes are thrown into the streets where people can start firing them at each other. A fun fact is that now these tomatoes are grown in the Spanish region of Extremadura just for this purpose. Some rules for keeping the fun have been put into place over the years, such as the tomatoes having to be crushed before thrown so as not to injure others. It’s advised to wear goggles and gloves as well, since the acidity of the tomatoes can really burn.
The free-fall lasts for an hour and ends by around noon. Firetrucks then hose down the streets and participants can rinse off with hoses provided by the town and locals. It’s said that once everything is washed up and people return to the square in the afternoon for more festivities, that it’s wonderfully clean from the acidity of the tomatoes.
It’s inspiring to see the energy of excitement that such a festival holds for people, even those who don’t attend. Time.com wrote about it today and I especially love the animated drawing from Google Doodle. You don’t have to be at the festival or even in Spain to celebrate though. Come up with your own self-expression of fun today that involves the color red and, most importantly, is out of love. After all, what’s that phrase again…? Make love, not war…throw tomatoes, not punches. Happy La Tomatina day everyone!
Featured image by Independent.co.uk.