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Full Frame: Flour war

In a Lenten ritual, Galaxidi residents dye flour with food coloring and then throw it at each other.

Full Frame features photo essays and conversations with photographers.

A fun, but messy tradition in Galaxidi, Greece, is celebrated on Clean Monday also known as “Ash Monday" or “Pure Monday” to coincide with the beginning of Lent. According to legend the ritual began in 1801 when the townspeople painted their faces with ash and danced through the streets, celebrating the carnival in defiance of their Ottoman rulers.

Preparations for the war — also known as "alevromoutzouromata" or “people throw flour at each other” — are intense. Locals dye bag upon bag of flour with food coloring and paint their faces with charcoal. Authorities cover buildings with plastic tarps so they are not damaged by the clouds of dyed flour. And revelers, at least those who know what they are in for, bust out goggles to protect their eyes from the flying starch.

On the day itself, the ringing of cowbells marks the start of the war and hundreds of residents and visitors run into the streets of the town armed with flour and have  a “flour war” against each other. The pictures speak for themselves — looks like a good fun time or a nuclear winter. 

About the photographer:

I was born in Belgrade, Serbia, and I started as photographer in 1992. Until 1999 I was covering civil wars in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and the NATO bombing in Serbia. From the beginning of my career I was involved in social documentary and war photography. I have been a photographer on the daily newspaper Blic in Serbia  and contributor for European Press photo Agency. From 2001 I've lived in Athens, Greece, and contributed to Getty Images.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/full-frame/100302/full-frame-flour-war