The Evolution of Spain

La Tomatina 2006

photo credits: davidd

Spain is known for its dominance in the 15th century as the “Spanish Hashburgs” and helped Europe to global leaders in the modern era. Spain is a major tourist attraction for their beaches, monuments, and traditions. Spain has some rich, unique traditions you will not find anywhere else. The Running of the Bulls or San Fermin, and the tomatina or the throwing of the tomatoes are two traditions that have been going on for centuries and will be apart of Spain’s culture forever. The Spanish San Fermin (running of the bulls) is a tradition that has been going on since the year 1215. It started from ancient techniques to get the farm cows to the market for selling. The farmers would taunt and rush the bulls to the market with excitement and fear. This soon began to become competitive for many young adults, seeing who could cross this run with bulls without being harmed. Once this fun competition grew, it soon became a tradition taking it to the streets of Pamplona. The festival starts July 6th, with the opening fiesta. This consists of getting the bulls from outside the city into the bullring. The encierro or the running starts the followingmorning (July 7th) at 8:00 am. Two rockets are then fired signaling the start. The first signals the corral gates are opened. The second signals that all of the six bulls have been let loose. The final two rockets signals that the bulls have been “captured” back into the bullring and the ending of the event. With people running from these bulls, there are accidents bound to happen. Fifteen people were killed in the 1924 Pamplona run, which is the most ever in one year. Another famous, messy spanish tradition is La Tomatina in the Valencian town called Buñol. In 1945, while the gigantes y cabezudos parade in the town center, La Plaza del Pueblo was taking place a group of young men created the event of a staged brawl. With a vegetable stand nearby the men picked up tomatoes and used them as weapons, whipping them at each other. The police later had to break up this “fight” and poured the responsibility of fixing the damage upon those who were apart of it. The following year on the same day more people joined these young men in the staged fight, but this time they brought their own tomatoes. The courageous event was later broken up again, but the people did not give up. They kept coming back the same Wednesday in August doing the same thing until this day became the famous Tomatina. The first event of the tomatina starts at 10:00 am and is called the palo jabón. The goal is to climb a greasy pole with ham on top and collect the ham while everyone is dancing and celebrating around you. Then the fun starts, trucks pour into the plaza dumping thousands of tomatoes. All the participants then throw tomatoes for one hour. Spain’s rich traditions could not be duplicated anywhere else. Every year more and more people visit Spain for their great cultural events. On top of that since 2010 Spain has been the fourth most visited country in the entire world. Between the beaches, amazing cities, and memorable traditions who wouldn’t want to visit Spain.

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