Each year Costa Rica’s Boruca indigenous community celebrates the Fiesta de los Diablitos (“Festival of Little Devils”). The multi-day festival is Costa Rica’s most famous indigenous celebration.
Fiesta de los Diablitos
The Fiesta de los Diablitos is an alternate history of Spanish conquest. Boruca villagers don elaborate costumes and stage mock battles with a “bull” that represents Spanish colonists. Throughout the ceremony the Boruca drink chica, a traditional fermented corn beverage. Village elders lead the procession.
On the final day of the ceremony, the Boruca triumph over the bull, which is then lit on fire. An all-night celebration ensues.
The multi-day event draws over 2,500 villagers and several hundred visitors.
Boruca artisans carve elaborate wooden masks for the Fiesta de los Diablitos. The balsa wood masks often incorporate features from jungle animals. Many are also decorated with feathers. Although Boruca masks were traditionally unpainted, modern masks are painted in vibrant colors.
When is the Fiesta de los Diablitos?
The Fiesta de los Diablitos is held twice annually — once in the village of Boruca and once in the village of Rey Curre.
In the village of Boruca the festival is celebrated December 30 to January 2. The festival begins on midnight December 30, when a village elder blows into a conch shell. It ends January 2 with the burning of the bull.
In the village of Rey Curre the festival is celebrated the first weekend of February.
Is the festival open to the public?
Yes, the Fiesta de los Diablitos is open to the public. Visitors are charged $10 for the right to take photos.
Village elders lead the procession
Little devils confront the bull, which represents Spanish colonists
The diablitos light the bull on fire
The celebration commences!
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