Nicaragua’s festivals and holidays are unique and joyful. Their memorable celebrations represent the dynamic history, longstanding traditions, and beautiful culture of a strong, resilient, and friendly country. Nicaragua celebrates holidays, patron saints, historical anniversaries, and loved ones who have passed on. Regardless of when you visit this nation, your visit will surely coincide with at least one festival, holiday or event!
International Poetry Festival
Hosted in Granada since 2005, the International Poetry Festival is the largest poetry event in Central America to date! A beautiful celebration of poetry, creativity and culture, this event welcomes renowned poets from all over the world to participate in the festivities and share their passion at the festival.
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, marks the week leading up to Easter. It is celebrated by Christian cultures and is prevalent among Spanish-speaking countries, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus. Characterized by tradition and celebration, Semana Santa is a wonderful blend of religious processions and relaxation.
Día de los muertos
Día de los muertos, or Day of the Dead, resembles North American Halloween and is a popular holiday in Latin America. This holiday, however, is not meant to be frightening. It is celebrated at the start of November and focuses on honoring loved ones who have passed away. It is a time for remembrance, happiness, and love, when families travel to their loved ones’ crypts and clean them, in addition to decorating them with alters of flowers, candy, food, and pictures. This is a special time for families to remember the lives of those no longer with them.
Nicaragua’s Independence Day
Nicaragua, along with the other nations of Central America and Mexico, gained independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. The beginning of September marks the start of the Central American Patrimonial Festivities, initiated by an act of inauguration typically on the 1st. On the 11th, a burning torch begins its journey in Guatemala, reaching Nicaragua on the 13th. On the actual anniversary on the 15th, the Act of Independence of Central America is read in all state schools, capping off the celebrations of this momentous date.
La Purísima & La Gritería
La Purísima is a uniquely Nicaraguan tradition that takes place during Christmastime. Taking place on December 8th, it celebrates the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary and consists of building and decorating an altar in one’s home and providing treats and songs to those who visit it. La Gritería is a more lively and raucous event held in the streets of Nicaragua the evening before La Purísima. La Gritería translates to “shouting” and, at exactly 6pm, a question is shouted among Nicaragua’s churches: “¿Qué causa tanta alegría?” What causes so much happiness? The people respond “La concepción de María,” or Mary’s Conception. After this important call and response, fireworks and firecrackers fill the sky, and the people sing to and celebrate the Virgin Mary by visiting altars and receiving treats for their songs. It’s a celebration that inspires community, joy, and devotion for a special figure in Nicaraguan life.