Fete des Masques

In the Bobo-Dioulasso region, whenever there’s a major funeral, it’s accompanied by a late-night fête des masques (festival of masks).

Masked men dance to an orchestra of flute-like instruments and narrow drums beaten with curved canes. Each dancer, representing a different spirit, performs in turn – leaping, waving sticks and looking for evil spirits that might prevent the deceased from going to paradise.

As the celebrations continue, dancers become increasingly wild, performing acrobatic feats and waving their heads backwards and forwards until they catch someone and strike them. The victim, however, must not complain.