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The Insane Mask Festival of Burkina Faso

During the dry season of every year, villages in Burkina Faso in West Africa hold mask festivals, with every year new masks and costumes are added to the 3 day event. The masks represent the spirits of the village, those that guide and guard the lives of the humans and that of mother nature. 

burkina faso mask festival

They come in colored pairs and dance around the villagers as visiting ghosts before retreating back into the forest.  The Spirits are made in the shape of wooden owls, butterflies, antelopes, buffaloes, and hyenas. 

burkina faso mask festival

Then the second phase begins, with men covered in straw costumes perform amazing and athletic flips and twisting jump turns, representing the evil spirits. With each stunt, the crowds are driven further into a wild frenzy, but are whipped back into place by volunteer guardians.   

burkina faso mask festival 

burkina faso mask festival 

In the end, the good and evil spirit dancers mix and dance together in pairs. The masks are then displayed to the villagers.

This festival is the social highlight of the year, but the ritual is also intense and even scary to those travellers not accustomed to the energy of this festival.   

burkina faso mask festival

 

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

burkina faso mask festival

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