Masquerade

The masked parades in Bonaire are firmly rooted in Mother Africa. During slavery, the owners of plantations used to give their slaves time off around the feast of the Epiphany, allowing them to undertake certain activities; provided they remained within limits acceptable for the owner of the plantation and the Church. The mask is made in such a manner that the identity of the wearer remains hidden. The mask itself symbolizes the frontier between the 'visible' and 'invisible' world. The belief is that once a person wears the mask or disguise, either a spirit of nature or an ancestor takes possession of him and as such this person relinquishes his personality to that of the spirit that has possessed him.

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