Fiesta o Baile de los Diablitos

Description of the Dance or Party called: "El Baile de los Diablitos" of the Indigenous Culture Boruca.

The Game of the Little Devils

After the fights between the Indian and the Spaniards, Brunca emerged a new god; Kuasrán (meaning person of legendary figure in the Boruca language), who resisted the conquest and walked away to the mountains from where he leads his people. A hill or mountain called Volcano Mountain located near Boruca is considered the home of this god.

In this context that the history of the little devils game or Cagrú rójc, which commemorates the struggle between Indians and Spaniards arises. This activity continues today and is celebrated in Boruca and Curré for three consecutive days. These communities are virtually paralyzed to participate in this event. The leadership of the "elderly" can be seen clearly; hierarchy, respect for rules and solidarity are fundamental factors in this tradition.

This Boruca tradition, which is practiced both in Boruca and in Curré, represents the continued advocacy of the Boruca indigenous identity to any threat. In late December it is done in Boruca, and in late February in Curré. When held in Boruca, the people of Curré go to Boruca, and when it is held in Curré, the people of Boruca go to Curré. Both strengthen each other reciprocally. The actors are many among which are:


1. The Bull

This one is made by the players themselves. Its skeleton is made of strips of wood and covered with burlap sacks, its head is carved into a special timber. At first the bull played the role of Spanish colonization, but its meaning has changed, and now represents everything that goes against the philosophy and cultural dignity of Boruca.

2. The Little Devils

The group of indigenous players representing Boruca culture are usually between 25 to 30 players. They disguise themselves with wooden masks made by themselves, burlap bags and banana leaves. Some of them tend to adorn their costumes with fur or feathers of their masks, and those who can do more use costumes with cotton that is typical of the Boruca culture.

3. Seniors

This is what the older devils that guide the general group of little devils are called. They have a great authority over the actors of the game. They carry their shells and define the path of the game. There are usually no more than three seniors during this tradition. Among themselves, they coordinate internal issues of the game and define the decisions about them.

4. Los Bullfighters

They are usually two or three people who are selected to walk in the unit they call the bull, taking turns with each other to not get tired and keep the pace of the game. Usually, these people are quite young and in good condition and build.

5. Musicians

A group of people who walk with accordions, guitars, flutes, drums, etc. accompanying the little devils from birth and during the three days of bull fighting.

6. Herders

They are usually one or two people responsible for ensuring order and lucidity of the game. They take appropriate measures-together with the seniors -in any circumstance that may arise during the game. The rarely accept excuses that the little devils give for staying behind. They also play the role of a mediator between the audience and actors.

7. The little female devils

This character is assumed by men disguised as women, women sometimes participate but must assume the risk associated with the game. Usually people go out on Sundays after noon.

8. The Butcher

This is a character that appears after noon on Sunday, using two-way humor, offers bull meat and rides it in its dying phase. At the end of the game, around 6:30 PM. Sunday, everything is shared.

9. Dogs

This is part of an improvisation. They are used to find the bull in its hiding place when it flees. They usually arise from the same group of little devils. This happens on the evening of Sunday.

10. The Bull Matador

This is the last person to appear. He appears after 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, and his mission is to kill the bull which the little devils bring tied with ropes.

There are several phases during this game which was developed as the days go by.


Source: Uriel Rojas R. Personal documents.

Note from the SCR site manager: Uriel is a native Borucan Indian, very smarth and reccommeded by the social anthropologist José Luis Amador.

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