What's Behind the Mask- Mascarada workshop in Escazú

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

After our hike our group settled in at a local business owned by Gerardo Montoya not too far away.  In this tiny corner of the city you will  find the family business connected to his home.   He and his family have been working creating these masks for more than 40 years.
“Mascaradas” are a tradition in Costa Rica. It consists of masks made of paper bigger than a person’s head. Those masks are painted with brilliant colors and put in a structure which looks like a human torso. People dress them and then get inside the mascarada as if it were a costume.
Now the art is the time it takes.  Layer upon layer with paper and glue and paint.  It takes weeks and even months to make them.  And I thought isn't this the reality of our masks?  The masks we were metaphorically are layers of pain and bitterness and unforgiveness. They aren't something that just happen over night but they are created over time and experiences.  They are thicker than they appear.  Our masks are beautiful too, but nothing more than broken pieces of paper holding them together.  In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says that people look at the outside but God looks at our heart.  I'm thankful that God can see beyond the many layers I often put on.  I'm thankful that there are time that I feel brave enough to take the clumsy thing of and let the world see me for who I am- raw and real.  
When the masks are dried and painted the people would play traditional music which is played by a music group called cimarrona. These mascaradas are very common in local parades. Some have big hands and head, so little kids are afraid of them and scaring the children is part of the tradition.
Also, mascaradas are used to represent local legend characters such as “La muerte” (Grimm) and “el diablo” (the devil) so they are a very important part of Costa Rican culture. 
Some of our friends danced with mascaradas and I even had the chance to create my own mask design made out of clay. According to Mr. Moya, this is a way in which people use their imagination and creativity. 

circa. February 2018
For more information:
Mascaradas San Miguel de Escazú:  Like on Facebook 
The History of the Masks: http://www.puravidauniversity.eu/

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