Spain’s ‘Tomatina’ battle returns after pandemic hiatus

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. drench / drɛntʃ / (v.) – to make someone or something completely wet

    I forgot to bring an umbrella yesterday, so I was drenched in the rain.

  2. pulp / pʌlp / (n.) – the soft and wet substance that is left after a fruit or vegetable is crushed

    Some people like to drink fruit juice with the pulp.

  3. hose down / hoʊz daʊn / (phrasal v.) – to clean with water using a hose

    My father hosed down our terrace, which was full of dirt and leaves.

  4. reveler / ˈrɛv ə lər / (n.) – a person who is enjoying himself/herself with other people, usually in a wild and noisy way

    The revelers partied on the streets on New Year’s Eve.

  5. don / dɒn / (v.) – to wear a piece of clothing

    The lady donned an elegant black dress for the event.


Read the text below.

People from around the world pasted each other with tomatoes as Spain’s famous “Tomatina” street tomato fight took place once again following a two-year suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Workers on trucks unloaded 130 tons of over-ripe tomatoes along the main street of the eastern town of Bunol for participants to throw, leaving the area drenched in red pulp.

Up to 20,000 people were to take part in the festival, paying 12 euros ($12) a ticket for the privilege. The town’s streets are hosed down and the revelers showered off within minutes of the hour-long noon battle ending.

The event, held on the last Wednesday of August, was inspired by a food fight between local children in 1945 in the town, located in a tomato-producing region.

Media attention in the 1980s turned it into a national and international event, drawing participants from every corner of the world.

Local officials said they expected fewer foreign visitors this year mainly because of continuing fears over COVID-19 in Asian countries.

Participants don swimming goggles to protect their eyes while their clothes, typically T-shirts and shorts, are left covered in pulp.

Besides being the first battle since before the pandemic started in 2020 in Spain, this year’s celebration had the added incentive of being the event’s 75th anniversary and 20 years since the festival was declared by Spain as an international tourism attraction.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Some people criticize the “Tomatina” festival because it is a waste of food. Do you think it is ethically okay to celebrate this festival? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think food fight festivals like this will be embraced and celebrated well in your country? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What is unique about your favorite festival? Why do you like this festival? Discuss.
  • What festival in your country attracts the most foreign tourists? Why do you think it’s so popular among foreign tourists? Discuss.