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Tourists Throng Spain for Annual Tomatina Festival

by VR Sreeraman on August 30, 2007 at 5:00 PM
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Tourists Throng Spain for Annual Tomatina Festival

Some 40,000 Spaniards gathered in this eastern town on Wednesday to hurl 115,000 kilogrammes (240,000 pounds) of tomatoes at each other in the annual Tomatina festival.

Bare-chested participants also included hundreds of mainly British, French and German tourists who were drenched in red juice in a riotous display of self-indulgence during one of the world's messiest festivals.

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The festival, since 2002 officially classed as part of Spain's national heritage, goes back to 1945, when two participants in a carnival allegedly began hurling tomatoes at each other during a heated argument.

Locals found they had hit upon a great idea for a party and ever since, on the final Wednesday in August, they have donned waterproof capes to protect themselves from the onslaught of juice and pulp.
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On the stroke of eleven a.m (0900 GMT), an hour earlier than in previous years, five lorryloads of tomatoes are driven into the central square of Bunol, just outside Valencia, and the mayhem begins.

Participants traditionally give the fruit a bit of a squeeze beforehand to soften it up. Revellers always don shabby clothes as well as protective capes.

Local authorities lay on 500 showers for the participants though many often seek out a local river for the same task.

Source: AFP
LIN/J
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