COSTA RICAN MASKS:
New National Symbol

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and the Ministry of Culture, have proposed a project to declare the Costa Rican Mascaradas as new national symbol.

El Instituto Costarricense de Turismo y el Ministerio de Cultura, han impulsado un proyecto que declara las mascaradas costarricenses como símbolo nacional. 

After its proposal, today April 21st 2022, the masquerades have been incorporated as a new national symbol; in addition to celebrating Traditional Masquarade Day on October 31st.

Costa Rica has a historical legacy of traditions involving masks, reason for which this project has been driven; in order to preserve and promote these traditions.

Tras proponerse el proyecto, hoy 21 de Abril del 2022, se incorporan las mascaradas como nuevo símbolo costarricense; sumándose al 31 de octubre como Día de la Mascarada Tradicional Costarricense.

Costa Rica tiene un histórico legado de tradiciones con máscaras, razón por la cual se ha impulsado este proyecto; con el fin de conservar y promover el rescate de estas tradiciones. 

The first traditional masks date from the precolombina cultures within the territory. They would create masks from mud, volcanic rock, balsa wood, jade and even gold; using natural pigments to paint them. These masks were representative of the indigenous cosmo-vision. A particular example of these traditions, that has transcended into modern day, is the ‘Juego de los Diablitos’ from the Boruca community in the Souther Pacific region of Costa Rica.


Las primeras tradiciones de mascaras provienen de las culturas precolombinas del territorio quienes fabricaban mascaras de arcilla, piedra volcánica, balsa, jade y oro; pintándolas con pigmentos naturales y que eran representativas de la cosmovisión indígena. Un destacado ejemplo de estas tradiciones, que ha llegado hasta la actualidad, es el Juego de los Diablillos de la comunidad indígena de Boruca.

During the Colonial era, masquerades came to life thanks to the so called ‘parlampanes’; groups of humble people who would dress up with disguises and use masks crafted with paper maché, which represented animals and folkloric legends. These masquerades grew popular among the religious and state festivities as well as within the bull fights.


Durante la época Colonial, las mascaradas tomaban vida entre los llamados parlampanes; vecinos generalmente humildes quienes se disfrazaban con trajes y usaban mascaras fabricadas con papel maché, que representaban animales. Estas mascaradas se popularizaron entre los festejos religiosos y populares y las corridas de toros. 

By the end of the 19th Century the traditional masquerades make a comeback, at the same time in which the National Theater was built and the National School of Arts was founded; creating a contrast between the satiric and festive culture of the streets, with the elegance of the new theatre and academy that symbolized Eurovision and contemporary culture.


A finales del siglo XIX las tradicionales mascaradas resurgen en el país, al mismo tiempo que se construía el Teatro Nacional y se fundaba la Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes; contrastando entre cultura festiva, satírica y callejera, con la elegancia del nuevo teatro que simbolizaba europeización y modernidad.

The rescue of this cultural treasure, that is engrained within the popular history of the region; has now a new value within the tourism sector of the country. Costa Rican Masks represent one more element in national culture and create a market for the millions of visitors from around the globe, who are amazed by the bright colors and mystical or popular beings who are portrayed iconically through these masks.


El rescate de esta riqueza cultural, cuyas raíces están intrínsecas en la historia popular de la región; tiene ahora un nuevo valor entre el sector turístico del país. Las máscaras costarricenses representan un elemento más en la cultura nacional y encuentran mercado entre los visitantes de todo el mundo que se deslumbran entre colores ricos y seres místicos o populares, retratados de manera icónica.








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