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Costa Ricans today celebrate “Halloween” Tico Style

The city of Cartago will have this night of a version with Creole flavor of the traditional Halloween or Day of the Witches.

Starting 6p.m. there will be a parade between the church of Maria Auxiliadora and the Central Park of Cartago.

This celebration takes place since 1996.  That year, the Government of Costa Rica emitted an Executive Decree N. 25724 to declare October the 31st the Day of the Costa Rican Traditional Masquerade.

The book “Mascaras, Mascaradas and Mascareros”, of Costa Rican anthropologist Guiselle Chang, describes how this colorful popular manifestation - that was in risk of disappearing - got stronger in last the 10 years and still stays alive.

Chang’s work is one of six publications from the Center of Patrimony of the Ministry of Culture in the period of 2007-2008.

Popular Patrimony.  Giselle Chang was part of the Technical Commission that worked in the proposal of Decree No 25724.

“The idea to choose the 31st of October as the Day of the Costa Rican Traditional Masquerade was to rescue popular tico traditions that is vanishing and celebrating it on a date near to other similar celebrations like Halloween in the United States or the Dia de Muertos in Mexico”, said Chang.

The proposal to make a native celebration was very well received by associations of mask makers and civic and cultural groups that were organized to keep the tradition alive.

The anthropologist points out the invading character of this tradition from its beginnings.

“It is (the masquerade) a rich expression of popular art that fuses with the indigenous, Spanish and African cultural inheritance.  The use of masks in the Amerindian cultures has been generalized and associated to ceremonial practices”, states Chang.

“Masks used in our popular celebrations have their origin in the festivities brought by the Spaniards which had their roots in popular medieval European celebrations.”

“Many masks are caricature like representations of personages who show authority like the police, the king or the bishop” explains Chang.

“As of today, we keep classic characters inherited from that time as the Devil, the Death, the Witch, the Giant and the Giganta.  “Soon other characters taken from Costa Rican legends were incorporated, like the Segua and the Cadejos”, adds Chang.

Free translation of article taken from la Nacion.

Andrea Solano B.

La Nación, Aldea Global, p. 17A




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