TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Podence
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: Luís Filipe Costa (Podence, 1985- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: leather
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; stitching; elastic straps

In Podence, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo there) is celebrated in a unique way. Masqueraders put on crude, pointy-nosed masks made of leather, wood, or folded and welded tin sheet, usually painted red, black, or both. Their costumes are a hooded suit of furry cotton yarn and always consisting of red, yellow, and green colored stripes. They also wear leather belts and bandoliers with bells attached, and they wield a stick or club. The caretos appear in groups, running chaotically through the village to harass the young women. The careto during this time is effectively granted immunity from the rules of decorum.  He can violate social norms with impunity, as he is considered the manifestation of a supernatural spirit. Such beliefs strongly imply a lingering pre-Christian origin for the ceremony in this region.