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Friday, August 29, 2008


The ‘Tomatina’ was held in the village of Buñol in Valencia on Wednesday. By all accounts more than 40,000 people participated and over the period of an hour chucked 113 tonnes of tomatoes at each other.

The annual ‘Tomatina’ is now a world-famous event and attracted participants from all over Spain as well as a long list of nations including Australia (wouldn’t you just know it – they probably think its cultural), Sweden, Denmark, France, the UK, Japan and Russia.

Apparently this was the 63 rd year in which the tomato fest has been held, so being an investigative journalist I thought I’d better find out how it started.

I am told it has its origins in a fight with tomatoes amongst friends. Groups of youths had gathered in a square in Buñol to see the “Gigantes y Cabezudos” parade. One group that wanted to participate started taunting another and in the melee that broke out one group defended itself by throwing tomatoes from a nearby display. That was back in 1945 and by 2002 the ‘Tomatina’ had been decreed of National Tourist Interest.
I can’t think of any mad food orientated celebration in Britain. Stilton does a cheese rolling contest every May Day – but at least at the end of it you can eat the cheese. I wonder if the Dutch have a sport involving their cheeses? I know in Friesland they are dab hands at pole sitting. I presume that involves sitting on a felled tree trunk for hours and not squatting on a person from Poland – but with the Dutch you never know!

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