El Enfarinats festival

No other country loves food fights as much as Spain does. The most famous one is of course La Tomatina, in the region of Valencia but one of the craziest food fighting spectacles in Spain takes place in the little town Ibi, Alicante on the 28th of December. During the less known, annual festival “Els Enfarinats” participants are fighting against each other with thousands of eggs, flour and firecrackers.

El Enfarinats is a game, a charade, a ludic battle between two opposing teams in a re-enactment of the political situation of the region. One team, the Enfarinats (“The Floured Ones”), acts as the government, while the other represents the opposition, and they fight for the control of the town.

Under the slogan of 'New Justice', the group of the Enfarinats, all married men in military uniforms, take siege of the Valencian town and impose a series of ridiculous laws on residents. Citizens who disobey have to pay real money as a penalty.  When they are fed up from the power of the “government”, La Oposicio (“The Opposition”) steps in to fight back. During the battle, participants throw bag after bag of flour, launch hundreds of eggs, and detonate countless firecrackers and colourful smoke-bombs. By the end, everyone is coated in a thick batter. At the end of the day, all the money collected from the 'fines' is donated to charitable causes in the town, which gives the whole day a meaningful scope in its playfulness.

The tradition of El Enfarinats dates back over 200 years. It reminds to an older, darker event known as the Massacre of the Innocents and that’s why the 28th of December is also known as “the Day of the Innocents”. In the New Testament, King Herod slaughtered all infant boys, including his own son, in an attempt to eliminate the baby Jesus. In Ibi, participants of the festival use the fake coup to commemorate the biblical tragedy. The very first El Enfarinats festival has been traced back to at least 1862. But it stopped when real fighting broke out across Spain during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 and wasn’t resumed until 1981, six years after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco.

The El Enfarinats is a game that has not just a long history but also follows a plot and participants play a certain role in the storytelling. It is a colourful and messy fiesta, where everybody, no matter if a member of Enfarinats or La Oposicio, has a lot of fun. If you want to discover the beauty of Alicante AND burn off your energy in a fun and crazy battle with eggs and flour, write us to info@across-spain.com to get more information about our El Enfarinats package. If you want to find out more about other great Spanish festivals during the winter season, check out our latest blog entry.