By Triveni Sharma: Tomatina festival is quite popular in Bunol, a small village in Spain. It is celebrated every year by throwing ripened tomatoes at one another. It gained popularity in India when the festival was shot in an Indian movie ‘Zindgi Na Milegi Dobara’.
The Tomatina festival is held every year on the last Wednesday of August, though the celebrations starts in advance in that week. The main attraction of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11 AM and 1 PM on that day.
The world turns red for a day and the the scene becomes a visual treat. It is a rule that the Tomatoes must be crushed before throwing so that they don’t hurt anybody.
This tradition has been around since the 1940s, though it was briefly suppressed under the supremacy of Franco. The festival starts with a person endeavoring to scale a greased pole to detain a cooked ham. Once the ham is taken down from the pole, water cannons are fired at the participants and over 100 tons of tomatoes are dumped into the streets for throwing.
Women are expected to wear white and men to wear no shirts. Anyone caught wearing a shirt inevitably has it ripped off – including women and especially tourists who tend to be the main target of locals.
The most important rule of the fight is- the tomatoes must be crushed before thrown to not harm the opponent. Participants must bring gloves and goggles with them. No tearing of t-shirts. Participants are not allowed to bring any kind of bottles with them to avoid any kind of disturbance. Participants must be careful from the lorries carrying tomatoes. Two rockets are fired one at the start and another at the end. When second fire is heard no one is allowed to throw the tomato.
About 50,000 people participate in this festival with tons of tomatoes. The streets of Bunol become red with the paste of tomatoes. People like taking bath in tomato paste. There is no matter whether you know each other or not. It’s all just to enjoy and have fun.