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Parade of the Giant Mascaradas

August 25th, 2010 • by admin

Parade of the Giant
By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

Tony, the artist, and one of his creations


During one of the most fascinating tours, our guides Emilio and Stephanie, the owners of Il Viaggio Travel, whisked us away from the cities to the small community of Ciudad Colon to experience the true Costa Rican culture. The art of the Mascarada puppets can be traced back to the religious festivals and carnivals of medieval Spain.

The young boy is standing by his mask costume.

this art to make it their

own.   Each country has their

own version of the Mascaradas

according to their local


We were invited to visit the

home of

Tony, one of the famous

Mascaradas artists, for an

unforgettable afternoon.

First the family cooked a typical

lunch on their 75 year- old wood-

burning stove.  The meat is prepared then added to the

vegetables, beans, garlic, onions, leaves, and potatoes.

Everything was cooked 100% natural in only 30 minutes.

We dined with the family on the open- air porch overlooking their

garden.  Emilio and Stephanie translated our

Stephanie helped put on the mask costume.

I realized it was time for

the Mascaradas as several

young boys

arrived and entered the

artist’s small studio to


When the music started,

we were amazed to see the

mascaradas dancing on the


It was quite a sight because each of the costume’s huge heads and

small bodies stood around nine to ten feet tall.

The boys held the puppet’s 40 pound weight as they danced

Emilio is inside the mask.

The mask’s facial caricatures

resembled the devil, a witch,

policeman, priest, La Giganta

(gigantic), and other figures

taken from their folklore, each has

its own history.

After the show, we were treated to a

mask making demonstration

and received two mini-masks as


I can see all of the excitement the

Mascaradas bring to any event

especially when they dance with members of the audience and

are accompanied by La Cimarrona, musicians playing typical

Costa Rican music with trumpets and drums.

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Parade of the Giant Mascaradas (Continued)

Listening to the music and watching the Mascaradas

dance created a festive

These ancient puppets are not in art galleries but in

every cultural activity like street festivals, regional

fairs, concerts, parties, weddings, small town?s

fiestas, and celebrations around the country.

The Mascaradas are an ancient art that they are

trying to preserve by teaching workshops to hand

these techniques down from one generation to


I had the opportunity to see the Mardi Gras in New

Orleans, the Dragon Boat Race Festival in China,

along with many other festivals and parades, but this

was very special.

Il Viaggio Travel?s tour was so different allowing us

to feel we were able to experience a part of Costa

Rica that most tourists do not see.

For information, call (in the U.S.) 1-(360)-283-5266. 

Il Viaggio Travel creates custom tours tailored to

your interests throughout Costa Rica.

Explore Nature

If you would like to see the beautiful village of

Turrialba, a place of natural beauty and delights,

you can also connect with Il Viaggio for one of the

local tour companies associated with them,

exceptionally knowledgeable about Costa Rica?s


Explornatura offers Explore Nature Adventures into

the rain forests.  Choose from canyoning, the

canopy, rappelling down waterfalls, tropical biking,

guided Turrialba volcano and other

hikes, white water rafting, seeing the jungle,

horseback riding, archaeological expedition, as well

as their coffee plantation and botanical gardens tours.

Tourist Information

The Costa Rican Tourist Board invites the public to

request free information regarding settings for

weddings, resorts, romantic hideaways, family fun,

restaurants, volcanoes, eco-tours, attractions, and

?Meet the People? rural tourism.  Costa Rica, No

Artificial Ingredients:


American Airlines allows you to pay with

AAdvantage miles for vacations or business trips.

There is a special 14 day advance

price now of $358 plus tax round trip to Costa Rica.

  This price is good every day with so many available

per flight.   Meals are served on the international

portion of each flight.

There are no online booking fees to purchase tickets

on their website and you can also print your tickets

and boarding pass up to 24 hours before the flight.  American Airlines:

(800)-433-7300, 7 days;