MassKara is a celebration held every October in the city of Bacolod, on the island of Negros in the Philippines. Unlike the Venice Carnival or the National Mask Festival in Papua New Guinea, this mask festival isn’t steeped in centuries of history. It began in 1980, when a pair of artists, Ely Santiago and George Macainan, hit upon a creative way to address the region’s high unemployment rate: they thought they could help people make a livelihood by teaching them how to create and sell handmade masks. Jose Montalvo, the mayor at the time, liked the idea but thought they could take it one step further. How do you create a demand for masks? With a festival! The idea for MassKara was born.
With government backing, plans were quickly underway. But then tragedy struck.
MassKara 是每年 10 月在菲律宾内格罗斯岛的巴科洛德市举办的面具节。不同于威尼斯狂欢节或是巴布亚新几内亚的国家面具节，MassKara 并非一个有着几百年历史的节日。这个节日起源于 1980 年，当时两名艺术家 Ely Santiago 和 George Macainan 为了解决当地高失业率的问题，想出了一个创意：他们想教当地人手工制作和销售面具来谋生。当时的市长 Jose Montalvo 很喜欢这个想法，但认为他们可以更进一步：要如何增加人们对面具的需求？不如创办一个节日吧！于是举办 MassKara 的想法就诞生了。
In April 1980, a ship bound for Bacolod from Manila, the MV Don Juan, collided with an oil tanker and sank. Over a hundred people died or went missing. In the wake of such devastation, the organizers considered canceling the festival. Yet Montalvo made the tough call to go ahead with the plans, reasoning that after such a tragedy it was more important than ever for Bacolod to put on a citywide event: he saw it as an opportunity to bring the residents some much-needed joy. So it was that an idea to jumpstart the local economy grew into something much more profound: MassKara became a symbol of Bacolod’s resilience, and the festival’s iconic smiling masks have become synonymous with the city’s nickname of the “City of Smiles.”
1980 年 4 月，一艘从马尼拉前往巴科洛德的船“MV Don Juan”与一艘油轮相撞并沉没，导致一百多人死亡或失踪。灾难发生之后，组织者考虑取消节日。然而，Jose 作出了艰难的决定，呼吁人们继续举办节日，他认为，在经历了这样的悲剧之后，更有必要在巴科洛德举办一次全市活动，为居民带来些急缺的欢乐。因此，MassKara 这个原本旨在推动当地经济发展的项目有了更加深刻的意义：它成了巴科洛德复原力的象征，而这个节日的标志性微笑面具也成为了这座“微笑之城”的标志。
The colorful festival has changed significantly in the intervening decades, with the masks and costumes becoming even more intricate and colorful. Events like parades, dance performances, concerts, and more now take place throughout the entire month of October. The highlight of the festival, a dancing competition between Bacolod’s barangays, happens on the fourth Sunday of October. In recent years, a separate nighttime event called Electric MassKara, with floats and masked performers decked out in neon and LED lights, has complemented the festivities.
几十年间，这个色彩缤纷的节日发生了巨大变化，面具和服装设计变得更加繁复和丰富多彩。在整个 10 月期间，还会举办游行、舞蹈表演、音乐会等活动。整个节日的亮点在 10 月第四周的星期天，那是在巴科洛德村庄间举办的舞蹈比赛。近年来，还多了一场名为 Electric MassKara 的独立夜间活动，霓虹灯和 LED 灯装饰的花车和面具表演者，让整个节日更加精彩。
MassKara is now thriving beyond the founders’ dreams, as tens of thousands of visitors flock to Bacolod each year to witness one of the most extravagant celebrations of the archipelago.
The 2019 MassKara Festival will mark the celebration’s 40th year and festivities will kick off on October 1st. To find out more about the event, visit the official website.
2019 年，MassKara 音乐节迎来了 40 周年纪念，庆祝活动将于 10 月 1 日开始。要了解有关该活动的更多信息，请访问官方网站。