View Full Version : African festival where adults put on masks to scare children?

Argent Towers
07-04-2008, 05:31 PM
Some time ago I remember hearing or reading about some African tribe that has a holiday where all the adults put on elaborate masks and costumes and run around trying to scare the children. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Argent Towers
07-04-2008, 09:18 PM
I'll bump this, maybe someone knows the answer.

07-04-2008, 09:36 PM
Any idea what part of Africa? Masks play a large role in the Mandingue culture (western Africa) but I wouldn't for a moment suggest it's limited to them. Do you have any more information to go on? Is this the equivalent of a foreigner asking "I hear American kids like to dress up and scare adults once a year"?

Argent Towers
07-04-2008, 09:43 PM
Basically. I believe the masks were made from straw or some other kind of tan fiber or reeds or something, and that they were very big and covered the entire body, not just the head, in a conical shape.

Dr. Drake
07-04-2008, 10:23 PM
I did a quick JSTOR search for "scare children" and "masks" and came up with this:

"Kong's Kondali, called the father of all masks (Fig. 7), is a solid-color brown cloth-covered figure, rope-belted at the waits, with sleeves dropping 20--25 centimenters beyond the fingertips, and a triangular-shaped sack hood with two red bull's-eyes with black rings for eyeholes. It serves to enliven the mask performances and uses its whip to scare children and keep them under control." Kong is in NE Ivory Coast / Côte d'Ivoire. The article is "Shared Masking Traditions in Northeastern Ivory Coast" by Kathryn L. Green, published in African Arts 20:4 (Aug. 1987).

It doesn't sound exactly like what you're describing, but I'll wager that scaring children on purpose isn't uncommon in a festival context.

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