The origin of this costume in the Carnaval de Barranquilla is disputed but it is said that it has its beginnings in Europe. Masquerade balls originated from the Venice Carnival in the 16th century, these balls took on a newfound popularity throughout the ballrooms of Europe’s wealthy class in the 17th and 18th centuries. Party goers would dress in fancy elaborate and colorful garments and covered their faces with masks. The popularity of these parties extended to colonial america. These festivities reached Colombia’s Caribbean Coast where they took on a more jokingly manner and carnivalesque feel. The costume appeared in Barranquilla by way of Cartagena where they were called capuchones and took on the name “Monocuco”.
This is the perfect costume for the individual who wants to hide their identity. The costume consists of a colorful robe that falls to your feet with a hood to cover your head, an eye mask with a veil attached to it that covers the face, and a stick to “threaten” those who try to unmask you. Because of the anonymity the costume provides, people feel liberated to enjoy the carnival in all its glory without the fear of being judged by others.