Flour power: Greeks enjoy messy annual tradition

The town of Galaxidi celebrates the 'Flour War' every year and uses two and a half tonnes of flour.

GALAXIDI, GREECE (REUTERS) - The streets of the small Greek town of Galaxidi disappeared under clouds of coloured flour on Monday (March 11) in an annual tradition called the Flour War.

Donning goggles and disposable paint suits, residents and visitors to the town in central Greece, some 200km west of Athens, filled hundreds of plastic bags with coloured baking flour and ran through the streets "attacking" each other with the flour bombs.

The municipality distributed more than two and a half tons of flour, provided by flour mills in the region.

Hundreds took part, while the less brave stood across the town's harbour to watch. Houses were covered in plastic sheeting to protect them from the mess.

The event is held on "Clean Monday" to mark the end of carnival season.

It is believed the custom originated in 1801, while Greece was under Ottoman rule. To defy their Ottoman occupiers who had forbidden carnival, Galaxidi residents painted their faces with ash and danced through the streets. Over time flour replaced ash and the custom became the annual event it is today.