I used to think they were just for Halloween and dress up, but looking around, they are everywhere. From history, to modern society, cartoons, and super heroes, masks are abundant.
Just off the top of my head:
Teenage mutant ninja turtles, Zorro, masquerade balls, Halloween costumes, super heroes, and my favorite, the Phantom of the Opera.
What do they all mean? Well, here's a quick run down on some of the various reasons.
Cultural Significance - Many ancient civilizations or tribes used masks in spiritual ceremonies. The masks were believed to help commune with the spirits of the animals, guides or deities watching over them.
Masquerade balls - In the early 13th century, Masquerade Balls were a cover for scandalous affairs. The lively events and anonymity of the masks allowed business men and politicians to interact with their lovers, without the scrutiny of society... or at least the cover of the masks made it seem acceptable behavior.
Hero Syndrome - Our beloved super heroes often wear masks. Almost all of them do - Spiderman, Batman, Zorro, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lone Ranger. This allowed them to keep their "normal" identities separate from their heroism.
On the other end, it also allowed the bad guys the same identity protection. Masks and costumes were typical to confuse the hero, and escalate mayhem.
Practicality - Yes, I have to include it... masks are great for staying warm. :)
Bottom line, masks are fun. They give you the opportunity to play, dream, and act (responsibly) without fear of consequence. They help kids role play and understand characteristics of different roles. This weekend, escape the ordinary, and transform into your Super Self. Make a mask and make a plan for fun.