The La Tomatina Festival of spain celebrated its 70th anniversary and was as smashing and great as ever.

The Tomato-throwing festival that attracts tens of thousands to the tiny town of Buñol, Spain. There, they throw tomatoes, get messy, and clean off in the river. It’s a quaint village festival that’s supposed to show the quirky character of the locals. That’s probably why it was selected as a Google Doodle.

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The history of La Tomatina is a lot like any food fight — it’s a little bit of fun that got way out of hand.

 

It is believed that there was a tussle during a procession in 1944-45 to honor Bunol’s patron saint, San Luis Bertran and some boys tossed tomatoes at the procession. A few say it was prompted by village rivalries. Some say it was a joke. But others claim it stemmed from unhappiness with Francisco Franco’s reign following Spain’s civil war.

“This village was against Franco,” says Miguel Sierra Galaraza, an amateur historian in Bunol. “Throwing tomatoes at the priest and mayor was a way to protest against authority.” Though banned several times in the 1950s, the tradition survived, eventually becoming the centerpiece of the town’s two-week celebration.

Tomatina Festival, Bunol, Spain - 03 Jun 2013...Mandatory Credit: Photo by JHON PAZ / Rex Features (2428793b) Revellers take part in the annual tomato fight Tomatina Festival, Bunol, Spain - 03 Jun 2013

At the annual fiesta, 175 tonnes of ripe tomatoes are offloaded from seven trucks into the crowd packing the streets for an hour-long battle.

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The tomato fight leaves the participants and the town’s streets awash with red pulp. The town is hosed down minutes after the event ends at noon, while participants can use public showers.

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The biggest SECRET however, behind this festival is that Buñol doesn’t grow any tomatoes, and tickets, ranging from around $12 to $75, are sold by a company called Spaintastic.