In Costa Rica you got your usual festivities, both cultural and social. Most festivities will very depending on the season and the province, as each will usually celebrate in different ways. But there is one very unique and ancient celebration which most have never heard about (not even the locals!). A festivity to special and rare, that very few have actually had the opportunity to witness it: the ‘Fiestas de los Diablitos’.
Its actual translation is the Festival of the devils, however this event is more of a celebration to history and the area’s ancestral spirits. The celebration takes place in two different Tribes. It occurs somewhere between December 30th and January 2nd for the Boruca Tribe and on the first week of February for the Rey Curre tribe. Although Fiestas de los Diablitos lasts for only 3 days, its preparation does extend for a couple more before that.
Fiestas de los Diablitos originated as a way for the tribes to celebrate their victory over the Spanish conquerors back in the 1500’s. The festival consists in a dance-like-ritual which lasts for the three days. Various characters are created to represent history through a dance. You will find the Diablitos (devils) which represent the indigenous people, el Toro (the bull) which symbolizes the Spanish conquerors and the Musicians which play instruments such as the guitar, violin, flute and drums.
Throughout the 3 days, the fight goes on, until at the end the indigenous tribe wins.
This amazing festival is known for having some of the most gorgeous hand-crafted, colorful masks and costumes. It is said that the animal spirits helped the tribes in their victory against the Spanish. So to homage, the tribes will carve masks from balsa wood to represent the spirits in their triumph. As you may imagine, it is really something to witness such a culturally rich festivity!
While the men are busy with the festival’s dance, women make sure to prepare a special alcoholic drink named ‘Chicha’ which is created from fermented corn. Actually, one of the most famous images of the Fiesta de los Diablitos is of a hollowed-out gourd filled with fresh Chicha.
Fiestas de los Diablitos and its indigenous participants allows outsiders to watch the festivity, however only the tribe’s natives may participate.
Come and be part of this unique festival!
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