At this time of year, when the leaves turn to red and gold, kids of all ages start thinking of the end of month celebration and what ghoulish, devilish disguise they can scare up. Of course, the holiday is ancient, and anyone can tell you it is known as Halloween, but there are few who can tell you exactly how this holiday originated. Nevertheless, knowing, or not knowing doesn’t change the fun factor!A most important element of Halloween, for young and old alike, is the mask. Masks are a familiar and vivid element in many folk and traditional pageants, ceremonies, rituals and festivals, and are often of an ancient origin. Masks are used almost universally and maintain their power and mystery both for their wearers and their audience.
Nowadays children celebrating Halloween prefer masks that are usually mass-produced plastic creations, often associated with popular films, TV programes or cartoon characters and that is a far cry from how children generations ago would have bedecked themselves! However, they are reminders of the enduring power of pretense and play, and the power and appeal of masks.
It is interesting to note that worlds away, in a totally different Central America culture, leaves may not be turning red and gold, but the planning for a wonderful masked event is also under way. I am talking about the famous Danza de los Diablitos held annually in the Brunka village of Boruca and Rey Curré. It’s all about masks, hiding your true identity, remembering your ancestors and…having a magical time.
Unlike the intrinsic spirituality behind Halloween being lost to the revelers up North who partake in this holiday, the deep meaning of this cultural masked event is not lost on the Brunka people. While having all the fun of anyone reveling, they are consciously partaking in a preternatural and ancient custom and they know that their celebration honors their ancestors in a very important way that the tribe never, ever want to lose sight of. It is their way of acknowledging their ancestors. And, as an aside, of late some elements of Mickey Mouse and Frankenstein have been seen made by the younger Brunka men who are reflecting outside influences within their daily lives.
As to the art of making a mask, a whole array may be seen in the used ceremonial masks section of our online gallery. The range of startling faces that stare back at you on these pages may make irresistible for you not to own your very own devilish mask! Many of our mask-fanciers actually do wear these very masks to their Halloween celebration, while others have told us they make great power-pieces hanging on the walls of their office! One thing is for certain, it would be hard to acquire such a legitimate mask with over 400 years worth of a legacy behind it. Visit our fantastical and traditional diablo masks here .