December 27, 2019
Today it’s Halloween in the United States, and Costa Rica has its way to celebrate it. Since 1996, Costa Rican government declared October 31st, National Mascaradas’ Day… But what are mascaradas?
“Mascaradas” are masks made of paper and bigger than a person’s head. Those masks are painted with brilliant colors and put in a structure which looks like a human torso. People dress them and then get inside the mascarada as if it were a costume.
People dress up with the mascarada and dance with Costa Rican traditional music played by a cimarrona. There are Mascarada parades in local towns that are part of the community’s celebrations. Those activities are called “fiestas patronales” (they’re kin of fairs!)
Anything can be represented in a mascarada: from animals to local legend characters such as The Grimm, The Devil or “La Segua”; from skeletons to even Costa Rican politicians or some iconic characters of Latin American pop culture.
The main goal of this celebration is to promote the different cultural manifestations existing in Costa Rican society, as a contribution to recover the country’s cultural identity.
Katherine Peters is an intercultural educator, Spanish professor, and former Assistant Director of ICADS in Costa Rica. Check out and follow her new blog "New Backwater" and her reflections on her time in Costa Rica.
Even during COVID-19, here at ICADS we are still seeking to explore important social justice issues. This week, watch Javier's webinar about Costa Rican and Nicaraguan relations during the pandemic.
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