Costa Rica, a country rich in urban legends and haunted sites, celebrates Halloween as “Día de la Mascarada” or “Mask Day.” The tradition has its origins in the Spanish colonizers’ carnival celebration, and it has been revived to counteract the influence of Halloween.
The mask-making process is complex and can be observed in the towns of Barva de Heredia, Escazú, and Cartago. The three places celebrate the day in an authentic and passionate way, but parades and celebrations take place throughout the country.
Celebrating Mask Day in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a country known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant traditions.
One of the most popular and colorful of these traditions is Mask Day or “Día de Los Diablitos” in Spanish. This celebration takes place annually in the indigenous Boruca community, located in the southern Pacific region of the country.
History of Mask Day
Mask Day has its origins in the indigenous Boruca people’s resistance against the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century.
The Boruca people used masks to disguise themselves and launch surprise attacks on the Spanish, eventually driving them out of their territory. The tradition has been passed down through generations and has become a symbol of Boruca’s cultural identity and resistance.
Celebrating Mask Day
Mask Day is celebrated every year on January 2nd and lasts for several days.
During the celebration, the Boruca people perform dances and reenactments of their ancestors’ battles against the Spanish. They wear intricate, brightly colored masks and traditional clothing, which they make themselves from materials such as wood, leather, and natural fibers.
The festival also includes a parade where dancers and performers move through the streets, accompanied by music and drums. Visitors can try traditional food and drinks, such as chicha, a fermented corn drink, and corn tamales wrapped in plantain leaves.
Preserving Boruca Culture
Mask Day is more than just a cultural celebration; it’s also an essential way for the Boruca community to preserve their traditions and pass them on to future generations. The celebration provides an opportunity for Boruca children to learn about their culture and participate in it, keeping the customs alive for years to come.
In recent years, the Boruca community has faced challenges in preserving their culture, including the loss of traditional knowledge and the impact of modernization. Celebrating Mask Day is a way for the community to come together and reinforce the importance of their cultural heritage.
Mask Day is a significant cultural celebration in Costa Rica, which serves as a way for the Boruca community to celebrate their identity, history, and traditions. The festival is not only a symbol of cultural resistance but also a way to preserve the Boruca culture and pass it on to future generations.