The Mengen people have many traditional beliefs. Much of their culture revolves around the fact that when people die, their spirits linger here on the earth. These spirits have the potential to help or harm them, so the Mengen would do all sorts of magic to manipulate the spirits into giving them health, wealth and success.
The mask dance is a big part of Mengen culture. Several times a year, the men would go to the jungle and dress up in huge masks which go all the way to the ground. They would dance and perform at parties, and would sometimes chase the kids and terrify the ladies! The men will tell the ladies that the masks are the spirits which have come out of the jungle. Everything surrounding the making and dancing etc of the masks would be kept secret from the ladies. Many years ago, if one of the women would let on that she knew the secret of the mask, she would be punished in some way or perhaps even killed. In this generation, the mask dance is still important and it is still kept “secret” from the women. However, the repercussions for the women would be far less severe. They could be taken to court or fined if they mentioned knowing anything about the mask.
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