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- Photo via Ministry of Culture -

Costa Rica indigenous people's fest begins

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Published on Friday, January 12, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The indigenous community Rey Curré, located in Buenos Aires Canton in Puntarenas Province, will celebrate from Jan. 25 to 28, their traditional "Juego de Los Diablitos" Festival or the little devils game.

The activity has been listed as a cultural heritage of Costa Rica since 2017. It is organized by the Rey Curré Indigenous Development Association.


"The ritual is an ancestral tradition that represents the struggle that the indigenous Borucan ancestors had against the Spanish invaders, during the time of the colonization of the continent in the 16th century," said the Ministry of Culture in its statement.

The community invites the public to their three-day ritual festivity.

On the first day, they celebrate the “La Nacencia” ritual. This takes place on Thursday at midnight. For this ritual, young indigenous people are dressed with bags and wearing wooden raft masks of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic designs symbolizing devils.

The little devils climb silently to a hill near the town and wait for exactly midnight to turn on firecrackers announcing the beginning of the festivities.

The young devils led by their chiefs or major devils, dance down the hill to reach the town. The rest of the people leave their houses to enjoy the ritual dancing, playing music, eating tamales made of rice and drinking chicha, which is an alcoholic beverage made with corn. The whole community dances until dawn.

The second day begins with the game, the devils face their worst enemy, a bull. The bull is a symbolic figure made of wood. The bull attacks and the little devils run around it. The day ends with more music, food and dance.

The third day is the continuation of the bull's game but more little devils are allowed to join. That day also ends with more music and food.

The fourth and final ritual day is on Sunday. They play the "La tumbazón," ritual or the falling in the English language. After playing with the bull all day, the little devils are defeated by the bull. Then, the bull escapes into the forest. But the devils manage to find him, tie him up and take him to the town. In the town center plaza, the devils kill the bull. More music, dance and food is the way this game ends.

People interested in visiting the festival should make a reservation by emailing the Rey Curré Indigenous Development Association at adicurre@gmail.com. The organizers are offering a bus ride from Buenos Aires in Puntarenas to The Rey Curré community.

What has been your experience with the indigenous land of Rey Curré?
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


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