History of the Mascaras of Hatillo, P.R.
There is a small friendly costal town in Puerto Rico that has a Tradition each year on the 28th of December which is known as the Máscaras (Masks) of Hatillo. This Tradition dates back to 1823, when the town of Hatillo was founded. This Tradition came with settlers from the Canary Islands. The basic meaning of this tradition is to celebrate the day of the Holy Inocents or Santos Inocentes. These were the first martyrs of Christian faith from Matthew's story, when King Herode ordered his soldiers to kill all small children in his kingdom to avoid being dethroned in the future. The Mascaras celebrate King Herode's unsuccessful attempt to kill the forecoming king of the jews, Jesus Christ.
The Tradition originated from the Mascaritas of the Canary Islands brought down by the first settlers, but over the years the Tradition in Hatillo changed drastically, becoming a totally different Tradition that is original from Hatillo and only celebrated in Hatillo, Puerto Rico.. The Tradition of Hatillo, P.R. is based on the biblical Slaughter of the Innocent. King Herodes ordered his soldiers, to kill all the 1st born male children under 3 years of age of every family in his Kingdom. He sent to have this done, to avoid being dethroned in the future by the fore coming King of the Jews (Jesus Christ). The Máscaras represent the soldiers. The soldiers (Máscaras) celebrate their failure to assassinate Jesus Christ.
The difference from the original Máscaritas from the Canary Islands and the Máscaras of Hatillo, P.R. according to the investigations done by Dr. Enrique Delgado are the following: 1. The Máscaras of Hatillo, P.R. are celebrated on a different day. 2. In the Canary Islands men dress as women and do not do pranks. In Hatillo they use highly elaborated costumes with a cape, a hat and a mask made of screen that is original from Hatillo, in Hatillo the Mascaras do pranks. 3. The Máscaras of Hatillo, P.R. are based on the biblical Slaughter of the Innocent, the Máscaritas of the Canary Islands are not. As we can see from this, the Máscaras of Hatillo are totally different from the Máscaritas of the Canary Islands and therefore are original from Hatillo P.R.. Although from time to time you will see some men dressed as women as it was done in the past. ( Dr. Enrique Delagdo has wrote a book "The Gracia Family" that contains information about the Máscaras, he is currently writing a book about "The Delgado Family".
The Family Santiago, old and new traditions celebrating the Máscaras together.