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Traditions, Celebrations, Daily Life and Beliefs in Nicaragua

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There are many different religious holidays celebrated in Nicaragua. For example, during March, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday are celebrated. Maundy Thursday marks the transition from death to life that happens on Good Friday and Easter. Immaculate conception is honored by Catholics during December. Christmas is also celebrated. A patron saint is represented in each city in Nicaragua. Holy Saint’s day is celebrated regularly. The Saints are thought to be responsible for good crops, healing, or a spouse, so gifts are given to the saints in return. Fiestas are also held for each saint; a parade will start the celebration, followed by drinking, eating, and dancing all day.

Dariana Day, a celebration paying homage to Ruben Dario, is celebrated in Matagalapa, Nicaragua. This is a fifteen-day celebration with each day involving an activity different than the day before. Book presentations, recitals, poems, and more are activities that can be expected to take place. The Battle of San Jacinto is celebrated because it was a major battle in Nicargua’s fight for independence. Nicaraguan Independence Day (right) is celebrated annually to remember becoming separated from Spain (Nicaragua). September 15 is the official Independence Day, but all throughout the month, many things happen leading up the celebration. A torch is passed through Central American countries and many people hang up blue and white flags outside their houses.

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Daily life in Nicaragua is simple, the colors in the markets, the smells of the food, the people in the streets. Nicaragua is mainly a farming nation, the natives live off the land growing many different crops. Other natives work in markets, bus stops, or from their own houses. Artistic expression is everywhere in Nicaragua. There are many parades and celebrations involving dancing and music. The people are always to open to having a party and natives have very kind personalities (Matagalpa Tours). If I went to live in Nicaragua for a year I would most likely be there for a mission trip. I would be helping to build homes and school buildings. People who go on mission trips live in their own compounds and have people make food for them, but in the villages the mission trip workers serve the natives. Spreading the word of God and helping others discover the love of Jesus Christ are also things that I would be involved in.

Folklore in Nicaragua comes from stories told by Europeans and Native Americans. One thing that is believed by the people of Nicaragua is that if someone has been working outside all day in the heat, the heat will come out of their eye, this is called “ojo caliente”. The heat that vents through the eye is believed to be able to kill children. If a person is intoxicated and has “heated eye” they are thought to be much more dangerous than a sober person. To prevent oneself from being affected by the “heated eye”, alligator teeth and corals are worn.

Another belief is that there are “flying women”, called La Voladora. These women were thought to be witches whose spirits were able to come and go out of their bodies. The La Voladora (right) were said to be able to know about an event immediately after it happened even if they were nowhere near where the event took place. To become a “flying woman”, you must go and see someone that is a part of the sisterhood and then you would be spun around very fast until your spirit could leave your body. Before spinning though, you would have to recite the creed backwards and also say “the prayer of the black cat” (Journal of American Folklore). Nicaragua is a secular state, meaning that no one religion is favored over others. Many natives are Roman Catholic, but Protestant denominations are also very prominent. The Moravian Church and the Baptist Convention of Nicaragua are the largest Protestant congregations. Other denominations include the Episcopal Church, Jehovah’s Witness, and the Seventh Day Adventists. People living along the coastline are dominantly Pentecostal. The main people who attend church services are women in the upper and middle class. In rural communities, church is not something that happens very often (Every Culture).

Family life in Nicaragua is very close-knit. Six to eight people will live together normally, making households very large. In rural areas, large families are considered a blessing. Kin groups may consist of aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents, and other extended family (Every Culture). Women in Nicaragua have the most respect in the role of mother, but the Sandista Revolution liberated women and many women have joined the work force. Women should not be independent, they should be submissive to men. Nicaragua is a “machismo” or masculine place. Men are expected to be very independent and assertive. They should also have a strong sense of dominance. Childrearing is mostly done by the woman while the man works elsewhere (Country Studies).

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