The Craziest Food Festival
What a town might look like after an explosive baking session? If you’re in Ibi Spain on the 26th of December, you’ll soon find out because during the Els Enfarinats fiesta, the streets of Ibi get a serious coating of egg and flour.
Egg and Flour Rivalry
The Els Enfarinats is the main event of a winter festival which takes part in Ibi over the Christmas period. Although you may feel enticed to join in, Els Enfarinats is a fiesta to observe rather than participate in. It is a staged showdown which takes place in the town square. There’s a special cordoned off seating area for spectators which keeps everyone safe from gastronomical missiles.
While there are presentations from scholastic choirs, traditional dancing and a procession through the streets of an effigy of the local patron saint, it’s Els Enfarinats who really steal the show.
The Els Enfarinats are one of two rival groups who take part in the mock battle which takes over the town of Ibi for an entire day. Both groups have fourteen members, but very different missions to accomplish. When you see them for the first time, garbed in long coats and top hats, you may begin to wonder just what the Els Enfarinats are all about.
The Els Enfarinats metaphorically represent the local council and take on the roles of mayor, judge, treasurer and secretary. They are a close band of friends who have been together since the festival restarted and were, in part, responsible for its rejuvenation.
The other team, known as the Opposition, who dress more conservatively in crash helmets and goggles, have one main aim. To prevent the Els Enfarinats from taking charge of the town.
Race for Office
Take your place by the starting line. Before they can officially commence their positions of power, which the real council transfer to them for the day, the Els Enfarinats must take control of the local council offices. Cheer them on as they gather forces in front of the church to race to the target zone two hundred metres away.
The rules of Els Enfarinats, as obscure as they may seem to any confused observer, means the prospective mayor must win the race. There’s one thing which stands in his way, the Opposition at the finish line.
The moment the two groups converge is when you’ll need to keep your head down as mayhem begins. A feisty battle of flour throwing and cracking of eggs on heads commences until the Els Enfarinats are able to reach their objective.
Once the council office has been besieged, the Els Enfarinats take their seats. They proceed to announce their political purposes which can vary from the sublime to the ridiculous. Local businesses around the town are also warned of the Els Enfarinats impending visit and their intentions to fine and recollect payment of the fines which have been served.
It’ll be time to cover your ears as the Els Enfarinats prove their occupation of the council offices. They don’t miss out on letting the whole town know they’ve reached their objective when they
make a tumultuous demonstration by exploding over a thousand fireworks, mostly screeching, smoking rockets, in the council office inner courtyard. The deafening display will leave your ears ringing.
Defence of Position
Join in with the applause when the Els Enfarinats emerge from their newly acquired office to begin their self-appointed tasks. The most important of which is collecting money to be later donated to aid the elderly of the town, but first they have to get through the culinary bombardment prepared by the Opposition.
A sustained conflict with weapons of egg and flour takes place outside the council offices. You’ll be cheering on the valiant participants from a safe distance even though you may have no idea who you’re supporting. Once the armoury has been depleted, the valorous combatants adjourn for a traditional lunchtime stew of pork and beans.
Collection of Fines
Fortified by good food, the Els Enfarinats begin their stately stroll around the towns businesses dispensing fines and recollecting funds. If anyone has the bravado enough to refuse to pay they run the risk of being egged and floured, and thrown into a makeshift jail set up on the town square solely for that purpose.
So Why Els Enfarinats?
When the mock battle begins eggs and flour fly everywhere coating the town’s streets in a messy layer of ingredients thicker than any you’d find on a baker’s apron. When the fight is over and the town is hosed clean, the day’s disorder is quickly forgiven as all money collected during the rampage is donated to charity.