Cinqo de Mayo is upon us. An annual celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. A little over 40 years later, this spirit was channeled into a new pastime and sport that Mexicans would make into something distinctly their own:
Lucha Libre or freestyle wrestling!
In many respects, Lucha Libre is not so different from French or American-style wrestling. It’s very theatrical with a heavy emphasis on the drama that unfolds between good and evil. But two features elevate Lucha Libre: the first, the highly athletic maneuvers of its fighters; the second, its prominent use of masks.
Mexico has a long and storied tradition of mask-making. The early Mayan and Aztec civilizations were both renowned crafters of astonishing masks. Often, the symbols found in these masks take on cosmic meanings. Entire histories can be understood in the façade of one mask. Thankfully when these two artistic civilizations declined, Mexico’s penchant for mask-making remained. This is evident today in the masks of Luchadors, or wrestlers.
Masks are so significant in Lucha Libre that they take on an almost sacred quality. Masks aren’t merely the symbolic of the Luchador; they ARE the Luchador – his persona, his honor, his livelihood. For many Luchadors, losing the mask is losing the self.
El Santo was the first Luchador to wear a mask in the ring. Its simple, silver design created mystique and helped make El Santo a folk hero and star of multiple films and comic books.
This wave of popularity spawned a second, almost equally popular Luchador.
Once Blue Demon, El Santo’s masked rival, arrived on the scene, the face of Mexican wrestling was changed forever.
Interestingly, El Santo, and the public, held his mask in such high regard that he was buried wearing it.
Today, popular Luchador Caristico has developed a series of masks, each one invokes a different Luchador – Mistico, Sin Cara, and Myzteziz.
In honor of Mexican tradition of creative mask-making, we at LAPA STUDIOS offer you our own Lucha libre mask. Celebrate Cinqo de Mayo and Mexico’s proud heritage of masks with us.