San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Festival Preserves Cultural Traditions

ONE of Costa Rica’s more striking traditions is the mascarada, bands of people in towering costumes topped by fiendish, creepy and friendly painted masks (payasos) who dance in the streets to the music of horns and drums.

The idea is adopted from Spain, but Jorge Acevedo, an organizer of Santa Ana’s cultural festival, said it has become Costa Rican and is in need of a rescue.

The II Cultural Festival, called “Light of the Summer Moon Santa Ana 2004,” is the event that should do the trick. Six groups of mascaradas, 15 people in each group, will parade the main streets of Santa Ana, about 25 kilometers west of San Josee, disguised as awkwardly tall police officers, Death, and other mythical and political figures.

Jazz bands, Caribbean music, a choir and a chess champion will flesh out the activities in the six-day event.

It takes place in front of the Centenaria Iglesia Parroquial in Santa Ana March 30 – April 4. Things get rolling each evening at 7 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m., except Sunday, when events begin at 4 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m.

ENTRANCE is free and open to everyone. Organizers are trying to raise funds for a cultural center in Santa Ana and will pass out information and ask for donations. For more info, call 282-8662 or e-mail or see Calendar, W-14.


Comments are closed.