|Travel and tourism throughout Latin America.||Vejigante
|Each year Puerto Rican revelers dress up in colorful costumes and frightening, horned masks at festivals in Ponce, Hatillo and Loiza.|
The Ponce celebration begins in February and ends Ash Wednesday, the Loiza festival in honor of Santiago occurs in July, and Hatillo celebrates the Day of the Holy Innocents in December. In Ponce, the masks are generally made from papier mâché, while coconut shells are used in Loiza.
The vejigante tradition is a result of the Spanish and African influences on the island. Originally, vejigantes represented the Moors defeated by Spanish knights. Puerto Ricans of African descent added the demonic masks to the costume.
In addition to being worn at festivals, the masks are considered folk art and can be found in cultural exhibits at museums such as El Museo del Barrio in New York City and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
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