Man, I love the Spanish. After all, only in Spain do you get crazy, wild fun festivals like the flour fight festival of Els Enfarinats held every year on December 28th in the town of Ibi near Alicante.
The tradition of Els Enfarinats goes back more than 200 years and involves dressing up in fake army clothes and staging a mock coup d’etat — all while throwing or spraying flour and lobbing eggs and fireworks.
The real reason for Els Enfarinats is a little more serious however. It commemorates the Massacre of the Innocents, the day when King Herrod ordered the murder of all young boys in the town of Bethlehem to save his throne from being overthrown by a new ‘King of the Jews’.
The festival begins early in the morning when the Els Enfarinats, married men from the town, stage their ‘coup’ and take the city with the motto “New Justice”. An hour later, the Race for Mayor takes place, when the Mayor of the Els Enfarinats is chosen — a mayor who reigns just for the day, we might add.
The Els Enfarinats then go around town making up fictitious laws and charging ‘fines’ to villagers for breaking them. The money taken is donated to a local charity. Those who refuse to pay the fines are then ordered to jail, with a collection going around town asking for people for bail money to set them free — another ingenious way of adding to the charity donation, of course.
The day finally ends at 5pm when the Els Enfarinats government is over. Ibi then holds a mass celebration with a huge dance and lots of food and drink.