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Tomatina (Tomato Battle)

Last week in August
Regardless of which legend one believes, what began in 1945 as a few tossed tomatoes as a show of disdain for the repressive Franco regime—or during a feud among friends—or by a fan unhappy with a musician's performance—has developed into full-fledged tomato warfare in Buñol, Valencia, Spain, during the last week in August. La Tomatina also happens to coincide with the town's patron saint festival, and while the tomato battle itself takes place on a Wednesday, the festivities last for a week.
Residents prepare for the impending food fight by protecting their storefronts and homes with plastic, donning special clothing, and imbibing alcohol. Thousands of pounds of tomatoes are trucked into town and dropped off at the Plaza del Pueblo, Buñol's main square, and the light-hearted battle commences. Although anyone is fair game when it comes to choosing a target, La Tomatina offers a good opportunity for males and females to meet and flirt with each other. This community-sanctioned tomato bath leaves both the festivalgoers and the streets covered with pulp, seeds, and juice, but after the cleanup, celebrants continue to enjoy the festival's fireworks, parades, food, and music.
The Institute of Tourism of Spain (Instituto de Turismo de Espana)
Jose Lazaro Galdiano, 6
Madrid, 28071 Spain
WildPlanet-1995, p. 100
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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| A woman lies on a flood of tomato juice during the annual "Tomatina" tomato fight fiesta in the village of Bunol