Christmas around the world series - a Nicaraguan holiday.
A traditional Nicaraguan Christmas begins on the 6th of December and most of the traditions are derived from the Old Spain traditions.
Like elsewhere in the world, shoppers can be seen picking through the wares of stores, choosing the perfect Christmas gift. Wrapped gifts are placed under the decorated tree and are waiting to be opened. On the evening of Christmas Day, most residents can be found in their homes, praying. Nativity scenes are placed in the home to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
On Christmas Eve, worshippers head for the church, where they have a large Christmas Eve mass. After the service, fireworks, dancing and a feast await them.
The Epiphany in Nicaragua
The “Feast of the Epiphany” is held on January 6, where children impatiently await the visit from the Three Kings. The Three Kings are symbolic of the three Wisemen who brought the Frankincense, Myrrh and gold to baby Jesus as gifts, according to the bible story.
Children place their shoes by their beds, filled with straw the night before. This straw is replaced with toys and candy by the Three Kings on that night.
The holiday season comes to an end by a fireworks display.
December Festivities Celebrating Christmas in Nicaragua
December is traditionally filled with parties, traditions and religion. Processions take place all over the country, en mass.
Colonial times saw the Spanish bringing their Catholic beliefs to Nicaragua. The natives embraced the beliefs and traditions and adopted them as their own. Most of the popular festivities came to be. One of the most widespread traditions is La Purisima, which is celebrated in December as well.
An altar is placed in the corner of the home, donning a statue of the Virgin Mary. This altar is decorated, and chairs are arranged around it to seat friends, family members and neighbors. The group will celebrate its purisima, with prayers to the Virgin Mary. Singing traditional songs, while tambourines, whistles and various instruments accompany those singing.
Outside, the sound of fireworks can be heard, exploding everywhere, in celebration of the birth of Christ. Hosts of the La Purisima party will pass out fruits, sweets, caramels, drinks, sugar cane and gifts.
More Firework Displays for Christmas
The Purisimas are to show gratitude for the abundance of miracles surrounding the Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus. The first eight days are spent in solitude, praying. The ninth day is then celebrated with fireworks and singing. Large corporations and various institutions, including Nicaraguans living abroad are celebrating by holding Purisimas now.
A shout can be heard from the many cathedrals and churches, “Quien causa tanta alegria?” In return, an answer comes back, “La Concepcion de Maria”, which, when translated means, “Who causes so much happiness?” and “Mary’s conception”, respectively.
At midnight, fireworks and firecrackers shoot off in the distance once again, in celebration.
Homeowners give fruits, candies, toys, noisemakers, drinks and gifts to carolers that travel from house to house, singing the traditional songs. Once they receive the gifts, they move on to another home that has an altar set up for the celebration. Most homeowners wait patiently for the groups of carolers to visit their altars.