March 2, 2012 · 0 Comments
Greeks let off some steam in a messy custom that involves tons of colorful flour, a tradition that marks the end of Carnival. Elly Park reports.
The sound of cow bells signal the start of war. A battle rages through the streets of Greece’s Galaxindi between rival gangs. Flying though the air– tons of colored baking flour. It’s a famous Greek custom called “Flour War” that marks the end of Carnival. The event dates back to 1801, when the town’s people defied the Ottoman rulers occupying Greece by celebrating the forbidden carnival and painting their faces with ash. Now it attracts people from all across the country, who wear protective gear to shield themselves from powdery impacts. With the country in turmoil, the mayhem in Galaxindi was a welcome distraction for a lot of the participants. SOUNDBITE: Eliza Dourouto, Flour War participant, saying (Greek) “It’s an escape, this helps you to forget, a lot of people come here, but they don’t have a lot of money to spend, so this is good.” SOUNDBITE: Vangelis Harasias, Flour War participant, saying (Greek) “No matter what happens the Greeks won’t lose their sense of humour, their sense of fun, it’s in our blood, no matter how many cutbacks there are.” But the fun will have to end eventually, and while revellers go back to their realities, it will be up to the village people to clean up the sticky mess left behind. Elly Park, Reuters.
By Emma Brown