The indigenous community of Rey Curré, located in the canton of Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, will be celebrating from 23 to 26 January, in celebration of their traditional Diablitos Game, Event catalogued as intangible cultural heritage of Costa Rica since 2017.
The Game of the Diablitos is an ancestral tradition that dates from time immemorial and represents the struggle that the Borucas indigenous ancestors had against the Spaniards, during the time of the Conquest.
This tradition is divided into different stages:
• La Nacencia. It takes place on Thursday, January 23, around midnight. For this ritual, the little devils quietly climb a hill near the village and wait with respect for it to be exactly midnight. To the sound of a bomb that announces the party, the snail will sound followed by the drums, flute and accordion. The devils shout, dance, saloman and begin to descend from the hill, led by the caciques or old devils, who enjoy full and irrefutable authority during the development of this game. The whole village accompanies them in the distance and together they will travel, during the rest of the dawn, all the houses of the village where they are received with enthusiasm and benevolence, while sharing corn chicha and rice tamales. From house to house, little devils and people advance until dawn.
• First Day of the Game. Friday, January 24, around 9 a.m., the little devils return to action. This time they will have the unexpected appearance of an actor who will become, for the rest of the days of the game, their worst enemy: the bull. A symbolic figure similar to a real bull, made of light wood and tied to a cache with which they charge the little devils, played by indigenous youth of the village, dressed in sacks of gangoche, with faces protected by balsa wood masks, with zoomorphic and anthropomorphic designs. That will be the dynamic of the game for the next two days of fighting: The bull attacks and the little devils dodge their punches.
• Second day of the Game. Similar to the previous day; more diablitos are added.
• Third and last day of play. Arriving on Sunday, January 26, at the end of the afternoon, the devils are partially subdued by the bull in one of the phases called “The Tomb”, which represents a transition of utmost importance for the outcome of the game. The bull, by laying down the little devils, flees to take refuge in the mountain and after about 10 minutes, the little devils wake up and rejoin the fight. Together they go after the hunt for the bull that hides in the bush. They find him, tie him up and drag him to the center of the town where they kill him, burn him and, as a sign of victory, share his parts symbolically, thus concluding the traditional [ Diablitos Game of Curré.
For Uriel Rojas, a member of this indigenous community, the Diablitos Game is an important cultural space in which a series of practical and theoretical knowledge converge, representing the ancestral worldview. Behind every mask, every costume, every saloma, food or drink, there is an extract of the collective identity of our ancestors.
For its valuable contribution to the national identity, the Diablitos Game was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Costa Rica since 2017 under executive decree Nº 40766-C.
According to Lilliam González, member of the Cultural Commission of Rey Curré, the “diablitos” represent the identity of the people who continue to fight in defense of their cultural rights and therefore their essence must be strengthened every year. As a representative of the indigenous women’s voice in my community, I would like to urge our children and youth to forever cherish this tradition that our ancestors inherited from us, so that it can continue to be transmitted from generation to generation as part of our cultural richness.
How to get to ReyCurré? The indigenous community of Rey Curré is located in the south of Costa Rica, in the canton of Buenos Aires, province of Puntarenas, 220 km. south of San José.
Its access is very simple, as it is located on the banks of the Interamerican South Road, between Palmar Norte and Buenos Aires. There is bus service, which passes through Rey Curré every two hours.
Se recomienda a los visitantes reservar hoteles y cabinas en Palmar Norte y Buenos Aires, los cuales se ubican a 20 minutos en carro de Rey Curré, donde no se cuenta con servicios de hospedaje. Para mayor información, comunicarse al tel.: 8709-3735, o en el Facebook Rey Curré Yimba.