By: Sierra Kuzak, Red & Black Contributing Writer
Did you know that every year thousands upon thousands of people participate in the World’s Biggest Food Fight? This enormous food fight is called La Tomatina. La Tomatina takes place in Spain every year on the last Wednesday in August in a Valencian town called Bruñol.
The festival starts at noon and lasts a full hour. During this hour, countless squashed tomatoes are thrown nonstop. The people partaking in this event typically wear white in order to have a keepsake from the event, as the red pattern from the tomato impact serves as the design on the shirt.
Do not be fooled by the entertaining aspects of this festival. La Tomatina is actually rooted in history. The event is said to have originated around the mid-1940s when a group of townspeople threw tomatoes at corrupt councilmen. The townspeople not participating in the attack were said to have seen the tomato pulp running through the streets. Legend has it that the people knew that change was soon to be upon them.
Decades later, dictator Francisco Franco banned the holiday due to the fact that no religious significance could be observed. This did not hold back the people of Valencia. The same year that Franco fell from power, the festival was revived. Yet again, the flow of tomato pulp represented a foreshadowing of the change coming to Spain.
This holiday was brought to Washington, Pennsylvania by Washington & Jefferson College’s LeMoyne Center Spanish Club. This club is made up of a group of students who come together every week to create and execute a Spanish lesson to underprivileged children served by the LeMoyne Community Center.
"This club [Lemoyne Center Spanish Club] is made up of a group of students who come together every week to create and execute a Spanish lesson to underprivileged children served by the LeMoyne Community Center."
The children of the LeMoyne Community Center learned about the history of the dauntless festival, along with some relevant vocabulary, by partaking in a variation of La Tomatina. The children were able to participate in a competition that allowed them to take turns throwing cherry tomatoes at a bullseye. The child able to land their tomato closest to the center of the bullseye won a prize.
Despite the holiday has come and gone already, this experience provided an excellent opportunity for the children of the LeMoyne Community Center to be exposed to this rich culture.