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Flour power lifts spirits as Greek village stages mock battle

The villagers of the Greek town of Galaxidi staged a battle on Monday (February 27) in the streets of the village with bags of sticky, colour tainted flour in an annual tradition called the "Flour War".

The popular event attracts scores of visitors from across the country and overseas as it takes place on the coastal fishing town of Galaxidi, about 200 kilometres (124 miles) west of Athens."Clean Monday" celebrations mark the end of carnival season and the beginning of the Greek Orthodox Lent fast.

Villagers awake in the early morning and cover their houses with plastic seething for protection before donning goggles and plastic suits.They then fill hundreds of bags with baking flour, tinted with food colouring, to be used as bombs.

The start of the battle is initiated with the ringing of cow bells and then the flour flies as participants parade in the streets, firing flour bombs and trying to douse each other with as much flour as possible.Anyone who does not wish to be drenched can safely watch the event from across the village quay.

"It's an outburst, you let off steam. What else to do? If you are feeling downcast in Athens, the villages, anywhere with this [economic] crisis, you come here and let off steam," said 'flour war' participant Efi. The custom is believed to have originated in 1801 when Galaxidi residents defied the Ottoman rulers occupying Greece by celebrating the forbidden carnival and painting their faces with ash while dancing through the streets.

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