La Tomatina is a Spanish festival held in a town in Valencia on an annual basis. The main purpose of this festival is to celebrate and have some fun by throwing tomatoes at each other. One of the tales that explains how this festival started was that many young adults would come to one part of town and have a brawl in order to compete for participation in the Gigantes y cabezudos parade. The first time this happened, a vegetable cart caught the contenders’ attention and they began to throw them at each other, being dispersed by the police on that occasion. Next year, contenders brought tomatoes – not from the vegetable cart but from home. This became an annual activity, seeing many modifications and being stopped altogether once or twice.
Now, I understand why it is still celebrated in Spain. It is part of their cultural heritage. It is a means of celebration, bringing together locals and tourists from all over the world. It is part of their history and the celebration is justified. However, how justified is it to celebrate it internationally, especially in a country that is already fighting very hard to conquer poverty and hunger?
I heard recently that this festival is being held in Lahore, Pakistan, and it has received a negative response because it has absolutely nothing to do with our culture or heritage (but neither does Halloween or Valentines Day for that matter) but this is an entirely different situation. The two occasions mentioned are international and have been adopted by a lot of countries. However, festivals that are as specific as the La Tomatina seem to be a little out of place here.
I did watch La Tomatina on television once and I thought, wow, such wastage of food, but then I thought, I just don’t like being covered in remains of food items and I’m not a food-fight person. So, food wastage really is my last concern here. I wouldn’t really bat an eye because it’s a Spanish festival and it defines them, so I don’t really have a problem with it. But Pakistan being a country that already sees a lot of food wastage, it really sounds absurd to be organizing a La Tomatina festival here.
Many people have defended it by saying, oh people are buying tomatoes with their own money. They can do whatever they want and spend it on whatever they want. Why do you have a problem with it? Others are saying, well, it would be okay if it was a dance party or something else and no one would have a problem with it but this is just weird. To address the first group of people, I would say, really? So instead of trying to argue reasonably, you’re saying, let them waste food for no reason whatsoever. Second group of people, to whom I would say, well, obviously not because no wastage takes place unreasonably as such and dance parties aren’t really a cultural thing anyway.
The most amusing thing about this is that the money that will be made from this festival will be donated. Imagine someone saying, “Oh you know, I’m going to this really cool La Tomatina festival and I’ll be throwing away perfectly good food. Oh but don’t worry because the money I’ll be paying to waste good food will be going for a good cause. It’s so worth it. You should come too.”
I don’t think I have anything else to say after.
Dislcaimer: None of these images are mine and were found on Google.