Historically, throwing tomatoes at people is considered rude, or perhaps a more emphatic way of booing stage performers. But not in Spain.Every year, in the small town of Buñol in eastern Spain, thousands of locals, visitors, and tourists head for the town square, where participants compete to retrieve a Spanish ham suspended atop a greased pole. Once the ham is successfully rescued, an all-out tomato-throwing war — undoubtedly one of the world’s largest food fights — ensues. This is La Tomatina! It looks like a bloodbath out there, but really people are just excited to be covered in vegetable pulp.
2015 is the 70th anniversary of the La Tomatina festival, and Google Doodles is celebrating with an animated tribute. The whimsical animation shows eight festival-goers gleefully throwing cartoonish tomatoes at one another, with one guy stuck at the top of the ham pole. The doodle is featured on Google homepages in Spain, South America, Canada, and a few other European countries.
This year, 175 tons of ripe tomatoes were offloaded from trucks into the crowd of cheering fans. Ironically, Buñol does not actually grow tomatoes anymore. Tickets for the event range from $12 to $75 just for the opportunity to get down and dirty in a sea of tomatoes.