Festival of the Masks, Diontala
Not far from Solenzo is a small village called Diontala, the hospitable site of another Peace Corps Volunteer who works in the health sector. At her invitation, I spent about 24 hours there to witness Diontala's Festival of the Masks, a traditional 'fete' that happens every year. In Burkina Faso, Masks and Mask Festivals can be found mostly in the Western villages and towns, and witnessing any of the diverse, brightly colored, other-worldly spirits during one of these festivals is at once terrifying and awe inspiring. In this particular fete, the festivities are kicked off with drinking and dancing, and as the night wares on, Masks appear to dance from midnight to five am, also terrorizing wayward villageois early in the morning with whips and chasing games. Although I was not able to get photographs of the masks themselves, I was able to take part in the festivities before hand. Pictured here are young men dancing with bells attached to their ankles.