¡Hola! Me llamo Miguel. Soy español.
En España hay muchas fiestas famosas pero la fiesta que más me gusta se llama La Tomatina.
La Tomatina se celebra el último miércoles de agosto.
In a village called Buñol, near Valencia, there is a crazy festival that takes place every year on the last Wednesday of August. It is called La Tomatina and it is the biggest tomato fight in the world!
Thousands of people flock to the village to join the tomato-throwing event. The amount of participants has now been limited to 22,000 for safety.
In the morning, lorries - los camiones - arrive, loaded with around 160 tons of tomatoes that have been specially grown for the festival. The special tomatoes are extra ripe so that they are soft. They do not have a good taste.
The day begins at around 10 a.m. with the 'greased pole.' In Spanish it is called el palo jabón. People try to climb up the slippery pole where there is a leg of ham attached to the top. When a lucky person eventually manages to fetch the ham - el jamón - the tomato fight can begin!
La Tomatina empieza a las 11.00 y termina a las 12.00.
Before the battle begins, shops and windows are boarded up so that they are protected.
The tomato fight - la batalla - usually starts at around 11 a.m. and it lasts for one hour.
A signal is fired, meaning that the tomato-throwing can begin.
Everyone shouts ¡Tomate! ¡Tomate! as they throw los tomates.
One hour later, another signal means that the tomato-throwing must stop. Everybody is in a terrible state because they are covered in tomato juice, seeds and bits!
Afterwards, the messy streets are hosed down with water.
La Tomatina Infantil
Since 2013, there is also a mini version of the festival for children aged 4 to 14 years. It is called la Tomatina Infantil and it takes place a few days before the main event - on Saturday.
If you want to take part in La Tomatina then you must obey the following rules:-
1. Throw tomatoes during the official hour only. Do not continue after the hour is up.
2. Squash the tomatoes before you throw them. This makes them softer and less dangerous.
3. Do not throw any other objects. Only tomatoes.
4. Do not rip or throw T-shirts.
5. Be careful not to go too close to the lorries that carry and offload the tomatoes.
6. You should wear goggles to protect your eyes because the tomato juice stings.
7. Do not wear flip flops or open sandals as you will probably lose them during the fight.
It is better to wear trainers.
8. If you want to watch without being hit by a flying tomato, then the only safe place for you is in a helicopter.
9. Do not stand on a balcony. You will become an excellent target for the tomato-throwers.
Miguel's list of good reasons for taking part in La Tomatina:
Razón 1. It is excellent fun. Having fun is good for you.
Razón 2. The tomato juice has a cleansing effect on your skin and on the roads, so afterwards everyone and everything that has been covered in tomatoes is actually extra-clean!
Razón 3. There is a lot of hard work throwing the tomatoes. It is good for your arm muscles.
Razón 4. It brings a lot of happy visitors and tourism to Buñol.
Why does this festival exist?
This traditional event dates back to 1945 when some naughty boys decided to throw tomatoes at a procession taking place on the last Wednesday of August. The boys decided to do the same thing during the procession the following year. Gradually, it became a tradition to throw tomatoes during the procession and it is now one of the most popular festivals in Spain!
¡Viva La Tomatina!