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Costa Blanca, Spain

The Fiesta Els Enfarinats: one of Spain's most intriguing Christmas festivals

Posted by Luci Ackers on Oct 31, 2017
The Fiesta Els Enfarinats: one of Spain's most intriguing Christmas festivals

Have you ever heard of this weird and wonderful winter festival that takes place annually along the Costa Blanca down in Alicante?

When the warmer weather has well and truly left England at the end of the summer, southern Spain is still bright and sunny. And it’s alive with autumn and winter fiestas and celebrations.

Different regions and cities have their own interesting traditions and parties – usually throughout the streets with lots of colour!

In Alicante, the town of Ibi holds the Fiesta dels Enfarinats every year on the 28th December. A lot of people throw flour at each other… but what’s it all about?

Traditionally it is on Three Kings Day, the 6th January, that children receive their presents. This means that festivities in Spain generally run from December 22nd right the way through till then. Over the Christmas period there are celebrations on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Los Santos Inocentes Day (28th December) and New Year’s Eve.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are generally reserved for family, but there are some public events over this period where the Spanish let their hair down a little.

Día de Los Santos Inocentes, or The Day of the Innocent Saints, is almost equivalent to the British April Fools’ Day. People play practical jokes and pranks on each other and get up to all sorts of mischief. Even newspapers get involved.

In Ibi, which is a town located just north of the city of Alicante, there is a very particular tradition that happens on this day called the Fiesta dels Enfarinats. Through the streets of the old town, what is essentially a flower party takes place where citizens dress up in military-style clothing and throw flower and eggs at one another in a mock coup d’état.

The tradition dates back more than 200 years, though it is still unclear as to its exact origins. The participants split in to two groups, Els Enfarinats try to take control of the city while La Oposicio attempt to restore order. There are often characters in fancy dress, live music, and pranksters stirring up trouble in different establishments, enforcing ridiculous laws in a good-humoured way. The ‘battle’ can go on for the whole day, and things tend to get very messy! 

Top image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa/4.0)

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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