THE world’s biggest tomato fight, the Tomatina, is the latest of Spain’s iconic festivals to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
First fell the Fallas of Valencia, then Sevilla’s sensational Semana Santa parades, then Pamplona’s San Fermin bull-running events. And now the Tomatina, which always falls on the last Wednesday of August.
The town hall of Buñol, near Valencia city, today announced the suspension of 2020’s event over ‘safety and responsibility’ concerns.
“The Tomatina is suspended due to the situation that exists – the coronavirus pandemic – because we can’t ensure the safety that the Tomatina has always boasted of as one of the safest parties in the world. We cannot lose that hallmark due to these circumstances,” Buñol’s councillor for tourism, María Vallés, said.
Vallés added it was a ‘blow’ to cancel the festival, as this year would have been its 75th anniversary.
The Tomatina has only been suspended once, in 1957, for political reasons.
Legend has it the tradition began in 1945, when some boys knocked the head off a participant’s costume during a religious festival. In a fit of rage, the headless giant knocked into a vegetable stand before the scene descended into a fruit fight.
The following year, some youths brought their own tomatoes from home. Police tried to stop it, but the rest is history.
In 2015, it was estimated that almost 145,000kg of tomatoes were thrown.