Kholuka masks were worn by Yaka boys who were undergoing initiation rituals that marked their passage from adolescence to manhood. During this process, the boys traveled from their villages to a remote location where they were circumcised. Upon the conclusion of this ceremony, the adolescents took off the masks as a symbol of their re-birth into adulthood. Upon the return of the new initiates, their home communities held a celebratory dance ceremony in which these brightly painted masks were prominently featured. Kholuka masks were designed to extol traits of masculinity, and when danced would have had a large fiber beard.