what is tomatilla, or maybe it's tomatia? I've heard it used, but I don't see it in the Spanish-English dictionaries.
This village of Buñol became famous overnight, God knows why. Otherwise (this is, 358 days a year) is a normal Spanish city.
Now, of course, it probably has become some sort of serious business, and they serve food from Jupiter, if that is popular.
Without foreigners I'd probably never remember the name of this village, and of course, even less their local tradition.
Well, it was interesting anyway. Where I live, there is a chain of restaurants called Tomatina. They have huge photos on the walls of the event you describe, with people covered in tomato sauce. But the funny thing is that it is an Italian restaurant! They serve pizza, pasta, calzone, etc. Their executive chef has a Spanish name, and their website talks about the village of Bunol in Spain. Do they eat lots of Italian food there?
Here is their website (click on About Us after you enter).
Hahaha. You're probably right and I was just freaking out with my own obsession.
Are you perhaps thinking of tomatillos, those little green tomatoes used in lots of Mexican dishes? Here's a google image page of photos.
It is funny. I am Spanish, and not many years ago I had only vagely heard of that, but I wasn't particularly interested about it - a funny local custom from a small lost place God knows where. As years went by, I learnt more and more about it... from foreigners! People from countries other than Spain seemed to think that it was at the heart of Spanish traditions (while I was trying to figure out what was it), and more and more people focussed their attention on that event. Nowadays is one of the things Spain is most famous for (at least in places like China). I wonder why.
It is not in your dictionary because, before it became magically famous, it was a tradition shared by people in a 9000 inhabitants city. Funny enough, 40000 foreigners visit this small (neighbourgh sized) village every year, so there is an average of nearly 5 visitors for every local person in the village. I'd say now it is more a tourist attraction than a Spanish tradition (that never was).