A messy centuries-old celebration for carnival

No one is safe from being  floured in Alozaina.
No one is safe from being floured in Alozaina. / Dtn Malaga
  • Flour and talcum powder is thrown liberally in Alozaina and Tolox this weekend as the annual carnival celebrations take place

This weekend in Alozaina, and from Sunday until Tuesday in Tolox, the annual carnival celebrations take place. These two towns have a tradition which started in the nineteenth century but possibly dates back 400 years before that.

In Alozaina they throw flour; in Tolox they throw talc. This strange festival has its roots in an old custom: young men who wished to declare their love to a girl would lie in wait and cover her with flour. Many girls chose to stay indoors that day to avoid being ‘floured’. In Alozaina there are stories of men climbing down chimneys and removing metal window grilles in order to reach the focus of their attentions.

In the fifteenth century a legend tells the story of a dispute between an Arab girl and a Christian girl, both in love with the same man. They worked in a bakery in Tolox and the argument got out of hand with both women throwing handfuls of flour at one another.

In Tolox it is more usual to throw talcum powder and the festival has lost its amorous overtones in both towns. From midnight on Monday and throughout Tuesday in Tolox and throughout the weekend in Alozaina, residents and visitors of both sexes will be vulnerable to being covered in talc or flour, regardless of their nationality or origins.