Flour Wars in Galaxidi: The Most Colorful Clean Monday Tradition

The unique annual Clean Monday celebration in Galaxidi is the perfect excuse for a three-day getaway to this seaside town.


Every year, the residents of Galaxidi count down the days to the three-day Clean Monday celebrations, and along with them, all the visitors who have experienced the Carnival at least once in the small coastal town in the Phocis region. Cheesefare Friday marks the start of the festivities, which include exhibitions, kid-friendly events, concerts, dances, and parties.

The highlight is the famed Flour-throwing custom (Alevromoutzouromata, literally meaning “flour smearings”), which takes place on Clean Monday and is unique to Galaxidi, when carnival-goers paint their faces with soot and colors and engage in flour-throwing battles. The custom is thought to have originated in the Byzantine era, but others believe that Greek sailors discovered it on the shores of Sicily and brought it back to Galaxidi. What is certain is that the custom dates back to the mid-19th century and was intended as a farewell to sailors departing for long voyages before spring.

The ritual kicks off on Friday evening with a bonfire in Mamas Square. There is much dancing and wine drinking around the flames, and bands perform at the same location the next day. The masqueraders’ parade begins at noon on Carnival Sunday in Manousakia Square. In the evening, the float parade on Galaxidi beach turns into a party that lasts until late.

The main event, the Flour-throwing, starts at noon on Clean Monday. The municipality distributes flour bags to everyone, and the procession begins at the bridge near the town entrance. Clothing ranges from carnival costumes and suits to white work overalls and swimming goggles to protect against paint and flour.

Whatever you’re wearing, you’re sure to be colorful by the time you get to Galaxidi beach, as most people carry colored powders as well as flour. The revelry, dancing, and flour-throwing continue until late in the evening.

 

The full schedule of events is available at alevromoutzouroma.gr.

INFO

WHERE TO STAY

The Ganimede Hotel (20 Nikolaou Gourgouri) is famous for its breakfast, which includes handmade pastry, freshly baked bougatsa, homemade cake, and fruity jams and preserves. The Nostos Hotel (Manousakia Square) is housed in a renovated 19th-century captain’s house, and the rooms have a romantic, country atmosphere. Acroploro (13-15 Aghios Ioannis) offers furnished residences with fully equipped kitchens, parking, a playground, and a garden, ideal for families with young children . Galaxa Mansion (Eleftherias and Kennedy) is located near the sea and offers meticulously designed and tastefully decorated rooms.

WHERE TO EAT

Bebelis taverna (20-22 Nikolaou Mama) is a Galaxidi institution that serves homemade meze, classic home-cooked dishes, and the local “kelemia” specialty, dried onions stuffed with rice and minced meat, in a traditional setting. At Galaxavra (115 Akti Oianthis) you can enjoy dolmades, traditional sausages, and juicy kebabs as you admire the sea view, whereas the rest of the seaside restaurants specialize in seafood. At Skeletovracho (91 Akti Oianthis), try the eel salad, tuna tartare, and orzo with prawns. Ab Ovo (87 Akti Oianthis) serves inspired fish and seafood dishes, such as shi drum fricassee with caper tartare and cherry tomatoes, and grilled Humboldt squid with black garlic vinaigrette.

HOW TO GET THERE

 

From Athens: It is 212 km away and takes approximately 2 ½ hours to drive to. A round trip will cost around €75 (15.5 euros for tolls and about €60 for gasoline).

From Thessaloniki: The 387 km drive will take approximately 4 ½ hours. A round trip will cost around €150 (€40 for tolls and around 110 euros for gasoline).



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