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Devils Dance In Streets To Kick Off Lowell Folk Fest

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Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts leads the opening parade of the annual Lowell Folk Festival on July 26. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts leads the opening parade of the annual Lowell Folk Festival on July 26. (Greg Cook)

Monsters danced down the streets at the head of the parade opening the annual Lowell Folk Festival last night.

The “diablos cojuelos” (limping devils) of the Lawrence group Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts lead the groups carrying flags representing countries from around the world, symbolizing the festival’s celebration of international cultures with free music, performances and craft demonstrations this weekend.

Asociacion Carnavalesca sustains a carnival tradition from the Dominican Republic, from which most of the demon masks and sequined suits are imported. The devils are said to have originated as a biting satire of Europeans.

“The natives used to do a mockery on the Spaniards,” organizer Stelvyn Mirabal of Lawrence explained to me last year. “The Spaniards used to wear the suits when Christopher Columbus discovered America. So that’s the suits. And the faces—they were like devils.”

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. (Greg Cook)

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