Dozens of Russians have spent the day hurling, squishing and lying on tomatoes in St Petersburg ahead of 22,000-strong Spanish ‘La Tomatina’ festival at the end of this month.
The red fruit enthusiasts donned casual clothes before hurling 20 tonnes of tomatoes at each other and frolicing through the resulting crimson sea at Kirovets stadium, as the festival reaches the Russian city for the first time.
‘La Tomatina’, traditionally held in Bunol near Valencia on the last Wednesday in August, sees thousands of people cram into the villages streets before hurling more than a hundred metric tonnes of tomatoes.
Delightful images show festival-goers hurling handfuls of tomatoes in the air while others lie down on the red carpet and try to make ‘tomato angels’.
Attendees can be seen smiling happily as they grab more handfuls of tomatoes before chucking them at each other.
Dozens of Russians have spent the day hurling, squishing and lying on tomatoes in St Petersburg for a Spanish-themed festival, marking the first time it has come to the city
Red fruit lovers donned casual clothes before frolicing through a 20 ton sea of tomatoes and hurling the fruits at each other
It was inspired by the Spanish festival ‘La Tomatina’, which sees 22,000 people cram into the small town of Bunol, near Valencia, on the last Wednesday in August before hurling armfuls of tomatoes at friends, enemies and acquaintances
A woman poses for a selfie while she lies in the swamp of mangled and discarded tomatoes in St Petersburg today. All tomatoes used for the festival, where entry cost 1,200 roubles or £14, were grown in the south of Russia
Participants in the ‘La Tomatina’ at Kirovets stadium, St Petersburg, pictured sitting in the sea of squished tomatoes
Some of the red fruit lovers tried to make ‘tomato angels’ in the crimson sea of smashed fruits. Participants would also have the chance to eat Spanish food and take part in a waterfight, before enjoying a disco, according to an advert
The four adult Killer Whales worth of the fruits were sourced from the south of Russia, according to event organisers, which charged fans 1,200 roubles, or £14, to take part in the event.
An advert also said that after hurling tomatoes from 3pm, the soaked participants could sample some Spanish cuisine before enjoying a water battle and, later, disco party.
The bizarre use of tomatoes was inspired by the Spanish tradition, which traces its roots back to the moment a parade participant fell out of a procession in Bunol.
This angered a crowd which started throwing tomatoes which they grabbed from a nearby stall in 1945.
The festival continued until the early 1950s, according to a local tourism provider, before it was banned.
The amount of tomatoes thrown at the festival were the equivalent weight of four adult Killer Whales. This participant appears to be wearing a shirt emblazoned with a picture of Putin, the Russian president
The Spanish festival traces its roots back to 1945 when a crowd grabbed tomatoes from a shop stand and started throwing them at a parade participant after they fell out of a procession, according to a local tourism website
A man is seen grabbing handfuls of tomatoes to throw at friends, enemies and acquaintances, while two others smile
A woman looks concerned about joining the tomato fight as she clutches two handfuls of tomatoes. ‘La Tomatina’ was banned in Spain but, following a protest in the town where it happened, the authorities permitted the tradition to continue in 1957
However, after residents protested, in 1957 the authorities permitted the strange tradition to continue.
It is now heavily controlled, with just 22,000 people allowed to participate every year.
They are ushered into the town at 11am as 120 tonnes of tomatoes are dropped in strategic locations across the town. Attendees are then allowed to hurl them at each other until a firework sounds, signalling the end of the festival.
Red fruit lovers arrived at 3pm to take part in the fruit flowing. At the Spanish festival only 22,000 people are allowed to join in
Couple shares a moment in a crimson sea of squished and broken tomatoes that spilled their juices out over the tarpaulin
One participant wearing a green shirt is pictured here trying to bury themselves in a sea of tomatoes while a second appears to be pouring some of the red fruits onto their head