Spanish Tomato Festival resented in India

La Tomatina (Valencian pronunciation is a festival that is held in the Spain, in which participants throw tomatoes at each other. It is held the last Wednesday in August, during the week of festivities of Buñol.

The famous La Tomatina festival held in Spain during the last week of August is a tourist attraction. Event organisers are planning to replicate it in the Bangalore city on 18th September, 2011 – 11am @ Palace grounds.

Thousands of tomatoes might just be thrown about just for fun, but not if the chief minister intervenes and bans this wasteful activity. Activists, students, and professionals of Bangalore are slamming the wastage of food in a country where 25% of the world’s hungry and poor live and around 43% of children aged below five suffer from malnutrition, according to the 2011 World Food Programme Report in India. While it has been reported that the tomatoes being used are unfit for consumption and are coming from Kolar where farmers supposedly throw their produce on the streets to rot, protestors like Anju Sait, a corporate employee says: “There are better ways to deal with the glut of unusable tomatoes than by wasting an entire day soaking in red goop. Apart from hurting the sentiments of people who don’t know that the tomatoes can’t be consumed, we’re also teaching our kids that it’s okay to waste food for fun.” An online petition, No La Tomatina, has been initiated by environment conscious Bangaloreans who are protesting the festival.

Tomato festival, is viewed as a insensitive festival by many people. Spanish society, which is known for gruesome cruelties unleashed in American land in 15th Centuary[ Devastation of Indies], may not understand the emotions that La Tomatino generates among poorer, under nourished people.

History of the festival
In 1945, during a parade of gigantes y cabezudos, young men who wanted to participate in the event staged a brawl. Since there was a vegetable stand nearby, they picked up tomatoes and used them as weapons. The police had to intervene to break up the fight, and forced those responsible to pay the damages incurred.

The following year the young people repeated the fight, only this time they brought their own tomatoes from home. They were again dispersed by the police. After repeating this in subsequent years, the party was, albeit unofficially, established.

Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste. For the participants the use of goggles and gloves are recommended. The tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown so as to reduce the risk of injury.

After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is colored red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely. Fire Trucks hose down the streets and participants use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomato paste from their bodies. Some participants go to the pool of “los peñones” to wash. After the cleaning, the village cobblestone streets are pristine due to the acidity of the tomato disinfecting and thoroughly cleaning the surfaces.

The festival has been recreated in several parts of the world. In the recent years, Tomato festival has been organized in Columbia, Costa Rica the town of San José de Trojas, Dongguan in southern Guangdong province in China, City of Reno in Nevada in the United States, Esparraguera a town of Quillón in Chile, Sydney University Touch Football CLub.

References
The Hindu                     DNA India                               Latomatina website                 Devastation of Indies

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