I have a large collection of Masks from all over the world-Mexico, Bali, Africa, etc.
When people wear masks in sacred rituals, the wearer becomes” the deity he represents, and so the masks and costumes retain an “aura” of importance. It is, of course, impossible to totally comprehend what the mask was like in use. The Metropolitan Museum, at the time when they established the African exhibit did a show called “Africa in motion” which featured films of masks being used in ceremonies.
When I was at a UNIMA conference in Seattle we were taken to a Klingit or Haida lodge where we saw various masks and costumes being demonstrated by torchlight. It was an awe-inspiring experience. Perhaps the most amazing thing about such ceremonies is that they are performed all over the world from times before there could have been any cross-cultural influences. The instincts of the priestly community were to bring the Gods to life so that people could retain their belief in them. I have learned that the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had devices and machines that caused images to move or speak. This speaks to the Universal consciousness which caused species to develop along similar lines of thought and action especially concerning the sacred.
This idea could be illuminated by using Go Away, Stay Away. This book was written about Spring in the Alps, or Carnivale . I saw a movie short about the ritual of scaring away the demons who come to plague the villagers when they must leave after winter. It reminded me so much of the true meaning of Halloween , and how villagers would dress as the evil creatures they want to scare away. We still do it today for the fun of it without realizing how it got started. Children respond to this ancient primal need. It still resonates with something inside of us. We are ruled by the same internal clock as the earth herself. It is important to celebrate holidays.