Rey Curré prepares to host another Juego de los Diablitos

The Boruca residents of  Rey Curré present their version of  Juego de los Diablitos from late Thursday, Jan. 29, to Sunday, Feb. 1.

This is the centuries old drama that pits the native residents of the country against the Spanish invaders. There are several such presentations at the beginning of each year, and Rey Curré is, by far, the most accessible location. The community is right on the Interamericana Sur.

The three-day drama could be much older than the Spanish. Rey Curré itself is said to be at least 3,000 years old. That some ancient festival morphed itself into a mock battle against Europeans is likely.

After all, the festival provides a lot of food and chicha de maíz that fuels the nighttime dancing. The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud said that a typical meal is smoked pork, rice tamales and the homemade booze, chicha.

The characters in the three-day event are a bull representing the Spanish. Usually this is someone covered with rough cloth and wearing a mask and horns. The diablitos, wearing traditional masks, represent the native population.

The confrontation between the diablitos and the bull begins before midnight Jan. 29. Those playing the diablitos will go to a nearby hill and sound a rude horn. They descend
dressed in the famous Boruca masks and cloths covered with banana leaves. They go to the local houses seeking food and the chicha.

At dawn the bull appears and begins to gore the diablitos. For three days there is back and forth and a resurrection of the slain diablitos. Sunday the culmination of the event is the death of the bull.

Rey Curré is a friendly community that is fighting against the loss of land due to construction of a hydro project on the Río Térraba.

Visitors probably should stop by the community center to learn about the local objections.

The community is about 29 kilometers (18 miles) south of Buenos Aires de Puntarenas

Youngster gets an early start on being a diablito.

Youngster gets an early start on being a diablito.

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