Mexican Folk Art
History and uses of traditional Mexican masks
Nowadays, masks are used in a wide variety of ceremonies, festivals, processions and theatre but more often in traditional dances, which are a form of theater, with characters, storyline, music and amateur performers. Basically anyone who wish to participate can become part of a group. The purpose of the masks is to convert participants into other beings, allowing the person to express himself as if he was someone else, unknown to the public. In many dances, if a dancer does not use a mask, he often wears dark glasses to indicate that he is not his normal self. With few exceptions, masked dances are performed by males, who play both male and female roles. The reason for this is that it was not considered proper for women in Europe to act or dance, a prohibition brought to Mexico by the Spanish.