Traditional Costa Rican Masquerade

In the United States we celebrate “Halloween”, in Mexico “the day of the dead”, and in Costa Rica we have “las Mascaradas”. The masquerades is a tradition that endures over the years and rather is strengthened, and is officially celebrated every October 31, in addition the masquerade was as a National symbol on April 21, 2022.

The traditional Costa Rican Masquerade is usually made up of a group of people who parade, with their costumes, large masks, which refer to famous people, legends, politicians, among others, accompanied by a maroon who plays very happy music with wind instruments and percussion. While she walks and they parade, the Maroon dances, and they encourage those who observe the parade.

Now, the Masquerades are not only enjoyed on October 31 of each year, in general they liven up the different festivities of the Country, patron saint festivities, cultural activities, and even private festivities throughout the year.

Video mascarada costarricense en Escazú.


It is said that this tradition began with our aborigines, who make masks for different purposes. During the colonial era this tradition was absorbed by the population, who began to make masks for celebrations. In the 1800s, Cartago formalized the masquerade as we know it today, during the celebrations in honor of the Virgin of Los Angeles, patron saint of Costa Rica. Already the masquerades parade through the streets, accompanied by small musical groups that encourage visitors.

In the 1900s, this tradition began to be reproduced in San José at the Zapote festivities, and by the 1970s, they could be seen at practically any festival throughout Costa Rica, from the Cross in Guanacaste, to the area South.

Today the work of the “mask craftsman” is recognized, there are towns in Costa Rica such as Escazú in San José, Barva de Heredia, Grecia in Alajuela, Tres Ríos in Cartago, where there is a tradition of building these artifacts.

Types of Masks

In a masquerade, not all are the same, there are different types of outfits.

  • Giant: They are larger, they reach an average of 3 meters in height, and are made up of a structure that supports the head while the suit hides the person inside it.
  • Big Head: The big heads are masks that cover the entire head, they are smaller than the giantesses. They usually refer to famous people, or legends, or ghosts. You can never miss the famous “little devil” who is in charge of “chilling” the observers.
  • Masks: They are smaller masks, usually only cover the head or the front of the face.



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