Galaxidi is a small seaside town in the Corinthian Gulf, close to the cities of Athens and Patras. It is well known for its picturesque beauty, a very common characteristic for very many coastal and island destinations in Greece.
But it is also well known for the almost two century old custom of flour wars. This takes place on Ash Monday, so the date is not fixed, but ‘Clean Monday’, marks the end of the carnival season and the beginning of Lent which ends on Easter Sunday. Clean Monday celebrations are popular all over Greece, although the flour flight is unique to Galaxidi and is thought to have been influenced by similar celebrations in Sicily during the 19th century.
In the case you feel you’d like to participate, although probably left to the more adventurous and energetic, the scenario is very simple.
Most of the locals dress in their old clothes, though some turn this into a much fuller custom made masquerade and have their faces painted blue, ash or ochre. One vital necessity is a substantial amount of flour mixed with a variety of colours. If you don’t have any, free flour is provided by the local authorities at the start point.
Pretty well a must is to wear protective goggles, a protective uniform can be had at the local shops for around five euros. At about 14:00, the first groups of revellers will start marching through the narrow roads to move towards the port, where the dancing and throwing the flour starts. And that’s it, the feast has begun!
For those that prefer to watch rather than take part, which is almost as enjoyable just to witness the extraordinary event, the opposite side of the port is out of bounds to the participants.
When the dust has settled, which can take quite a time, and once the music and party has finally finished around the port, people retire to less flour covered local tavernas and bars and continue to dance and have fun for the rest of the evening.