22,000 People Got Together in Spain Yet Again to Throw Tomatoes at Each Other

They do it every year, but it never seems to get old

Every year on the last Wednesday of August, massive numbers of people gather in Buñol, in the province of Valencia, Spain, to throw tomatoes at each other for an hour. According to Tomatina.es, a company that operates tours to the event, La Tomatina Festival began in 1945 during a dispute at a local parade when an attendee became upset after he was ejected from a musician’s entourage. In a fit of rage, he grabbed some tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stand and pelted everyone in his path.

Ever since, masses of people have come together annually in the town of around 10,000 to bathe themselves in vegetable pulp like human spaghetti.

This year’s event on Aug. 30 attracted more than 22,000 people from all over the world. Business Insider reports that 150 tons of overly ripe tomatoes were used for ammunition. Some people chucked them like baseballs, while others literally threw buckets of sauce on each other.

A hard blow to the face might seriously hurt, which is why the rules say that each tomato must be squashed before it’s sent flying. Goggles are recommended too, since the acidity of tomatoes could potentially burn participants’ eyes. (Though some past participants have reportedly gloated about how tomato facials have successfully cleansed their skin.)


After the event is over, fire trucks and cleaning crews hose down the red streets. If you love tomatoes — but you’d rather eat them instead of wear them — here are 25 tomato recipes we bet you didn’t know about.