While the popular bars and clubs of Granada prepare the evening’s Halloween parties, choked with backpackers and upper class Nicaraguans, Masaya has already begun parades with gruesome costumes bathed in blood, revealing torn flesh, and evoking spirits. However, the Aguizotes of Masaya are not Halloween.
The traditional rituals of the pueblo celebrating spirits might appear the same at first, but one soon sees an intact traditionalist root that ignores commercialization by converting the ritual into a buying frenzy for costumes and candy. Everyone, old and young is in the streets together, parading in their simple costumes (some are becoming more sophisticated because of foreign presence, but the range is impressively small: ghosts and witches make up the majority with dark cloaked and ghoulish crossbreeds round out the cast. You don’t see princesses, butterflies, or power rangers.) After a tour of the city, where people carrying candles and alcohol shot fire, most people retire the paper mache masks and go home. We went with 15 of our students to check them out.