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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is it time to end La Tomatina?

La Tomatina is the giant tomato fight held in the town of Buñol in Spain on the last Wednesday of every August. It has become an immensely popular event, but is it appropriate to continue a food fight festival while in some countries food shortages and prices have produced food riots?

At a time of rising global food prices, where food riots have broken out from Haiti to Egypt to Indonesia, What kind of message does this send to the world that struggles to feed itself. It might only be 100 metric tons of tomatoes that is used, but the event serves as a potent symbol of western excess.

La Tomatina began in 1944 or 1945, no one knows exactly when or how it started. While Europe was slugging it out in WWII the town of Buñol began slugging each other with tomatoes.

Not that life in Franco's Spain was a picnic. Who wouldn't want join in a food fight to let off some steam? Franco actually banned it because it had no religious significance, but it was reintroduced in the 1970's.

Today the La Tomatina legend has grown to become an international event that is listed in Things To Do Before You Die type lists and has even featured on a credit card advertisement.

La Tomatina though is not a festival suited to the age of mass tourism, where budget airline loads of tourists can do Spain for the weekend and tick another festival from the been there, done that list.

This is not to say there shouldn't be large messy festivals. Visit India during Holi to see how joyous a messy festival can be.

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What the hell, what is wrong with people of spain ?, bunch of 3rd century idiots, i just hope some carnivorous being eat these folks dripped in ripe tomatoes
to mr.clark --- i was thinking the same thing myself while reading the article on yahoonews about la tomatina... at a time like this, maybe the parts of the world where food is in excess could be more sensitive and make an effort to be charitable instead of wasteful. why didn't they just donate the 100 metric tons of tomatoes to make tomato juice and distribute it to people starving in third world countries instead? or sell it and donate the contributions to an orphanage/aids recovery center? there are so much More better things to do in life that do good than waste food at a time like this!
These kinds of fiestas are all over Spain and many of them predate Roman times (although la tomatina is younger)...They tend to be related to crop festivals to celebrate the arrival of good times in summer-autumn...
Some of them are with grapes, wine, bread, water, and even hams (obviously in many cases they eat the food afterwards), and many include a dressed kind of old character representing the bad spirits of the winter famine. As you can imagine that guy is the center of all the throwing.
If I have to choose the ones with wine or water are the best!!
Thanks for the "idiots" comment...I'll take it as a compliment… (I’ll always prefer someone hurling tomatoes than shooting me…)
I totally agree. Torturing bulls for fun, playing with food while there's people starving.... That's the Spaniards for you. Clap clap clap

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