Customs of the Tradition
Their Floats and costumes are very colorful. Their sirens can leave you deaf for a moment, as they pass by, jumping up and down on their Floats.
During the celebration of the Máscaras, young men and sometimes women dress up with brightly colored costumes, wearing a traditional mask. They party from early morning until late at night. They play pranks on their friends (who do not know who they are) sometimes these pranks can be harsh, throwing their friends in the air and twirling them around till they are dizzy. They use such things as shaving cream to cream their friends, be it female or male. They use water pistols to wet the general public, they also use plastic snakes and rats to scare children and young girls. Basically the pranks are harmless. They usually just jump up and down on their friends and mess up their hair, sometimes with shaving cream, which the young girls don't seem to like very much. But in general, every one is just out to have fun and a good time.
Many, many years ago, part of the Tradition was to go out on horse back, and look for children that were outside of their house, children were told to stay indoors that day. But there are always little children that don't obey their parents, they would grab the small children that didn't obey their parents, throw them on their horses and they would take them to another house far away, frightening the living day lights out of them on the way. Then the Mascara would leave them in a house or farm far away where no one knew who the child was. The parents of the child would be days looking on horse back trying to find out in which house or farm they had left the child. Needless to say they would find their child scared out of their wits. This happened to my dear Aunt Veny (R.I.P.) when she was a child and even as a elderly lady was still scared of the Máscaras. This old part of the Tradition is no longer practiced. Today they only use rubber snakes and rats to scare the children. Some Máscaras still go out on horse back, but most use colorful modern motorized Floats, with police and ambulance sirens to scare people by letting them know they are coming. If they go to your house they are going to play a lot of pranks on you and your family, it is common to see people lock up their houses when they hear the Máscaras coming
The 27 of December is the Day of the Innocent, this is the day the little children get to go out on the streets with their Traditional red crosses painted on their foreheads and faces with a long wood staffs, to ask for money and candy from people they know.
The 28 of December is the Fiestas of the Máscaras (Festival of the Masks). The Máscaras parade around the Town Square at afternoon (3:00 p.m.), showing off their brightly colored costumes and their floats, searching for friends to do pranks on them.