Nicaragua Culture and Traditions
Customs and traditions
According to Abbreviationfinder, Nicaragua is popularly called Nica and its residents nicas. The Nicaraguans take pride in their country and their traditions. The national anthem celebrates peace and independence. The landscape is dominated by volcanoes, lakes and green hills. The volcanoes are often depicted on the country’s crafts and in the middle of the flag is a volcano.
The western part of the country is similar to other Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. The eastern part of the country has been under British influence and has a more Afro-Caribbean feel, similar to the British colonies in the region. Traditionally, the residents here have distanced themselves from the rest of the country and the “Spaniards” whom they call the Spanish-speaking compatriots. This chapter is mainly about the customs, customs and customs of the majority people, the masters.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Nicaragua, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
When Nicaraguans meet for the first time, they smile and shake hands or kiss their cheeks. Men who know each other well greet with a hearty handshake. They like to put their arms around their shoulders and thump one another in the back. Women who know each other usually greet with a cheek kiss and a slight hug.
Nicaraguans are often closer to the one you speak to than Scandinavians. Physical contact is common during calls. Individuals are valued higher than time schedules and this means that meetings are often delayed. Especially in social contexts, time is considered rather unimportant. You come when it suits you.
“If God wills”
Talking about everything from weather to politics is one of the favorite jobs. Generally, Nicaraguan people express themselves more indirectly than Swedes. For example, you prefer not to decline an invitation, even if you can’t come. Nicaraguan people like to make unforced conversations that make everyone feel comfortable. Personal criticism should be avoided. Be careful not to let your thumb stick out between your forefinger and middle finger if you tie your fist! It is perceived as a vulgar gesture.
Many Nicaraguans are believing Catholics, although they do not attend church very often. Concepts such as “if God wills” often occur when talking about things that lie ahead in time. Usually, the speech vos instead of tú – you, when Nicaraguans talk with those they know. To show reverence you say usted – you, and it is also often used within the family.
“Shrimp that sleeps with the stream” is a popular saying, which means that those who do not take responsibility for their lives end up in the backwater.
Like other countries in Central America, the family is at the center of social, economic and political life. Social status, finances, and political affiliation usually follow family lines. Families are often large, it is common for six to eight family members to live together. Especially in the countryside, many children are seen as a blessing. They are also welcome labor and pension insurance for parents. In many households, a grandparent lives, an aunt or aunt and some nephew or godchild. Most of the free time is devoted to socializing with the family. Family members who live far apart often meet during Christmas and Easter. The family has great influence over the individual’s life and decision-making.
Most children have godparents who help arrange baptism and act as extra parents during their upbringing. The relationships between godparents and children, compadrazgo, are often as strong as blood ties. Poor families often choose godparents who have higher financial, political or social status and who are expected to be able to help the child in the future.
Most institutions, from government to political parties, are weak and often linked to family loyalty and personal ties rather than overall goals and values. Both men and women value blood ties higher than marriages. Domestic violence is a major problem in Nicaragua, as are sexual abuse of girls and women.
Baseball is people’s sport in Nicaragua. In most municipalities, even far out in the countryside, there is a baseball plan. The largest stadium is located in Managua and can accommodate 40,000 people. Among girls and women, basketball and volleyball are the most common sports. Boxing has become increasingly popular, not least thanks to the successful boxer Alexis Argüello (1952–2009), who last May was a mayor of the capital Managua. Other popular sports are football, swimming and weightlifting. Chess and board are also common pastimes.
Nicaragua has two coasts. The beaches are mostly visited by tourists. The Nicaraguan people who have the opportunity go mainly to the beach on weekends and during Easter week (semana santa), when it is the warmest. Around Easter, many Nicaraguans have holidays and besides the religious celebration it belongs to the tradition of bathing then, in the sea or elsewhere.
In Nicaragua it is almost always warm. Men usually dress in cotton clothes, women in thin tops and skirts, trousers or tajts. Jeans are a common garment in informal contexts, and sometimes even in working life. At business meetings, men dress in suits or in white shirts, guayabera. Great emphasis is placed on the shoes, which should be neat and well-plastered. Women often wear high-heeled shoes even in everyday life.
In Nicaragua, meals are an important part of social life. Today’s most important meal is eaten in the middle of the day. The food tradition is a mixture of Native American and Western traditions. Many flavors and ingredients are the same as in the rest of Central America and Mexico. Corn and beans are the most important ingredients. For all meals, tortilla is served, a thin bread that is usually baked on white corn flour. Many Nicaraguans rarely afford meat, and the protein needs are covered by beans.
The national dish is gallo pinto (“painted rooster”) – fried rice mixed with red beans. Gallo pinto can be eaten at any time of day, even for breakfast. It is often served with the fresh cheese cuajada and deep-fried food court and sometimes even with meat and cabbage salad. In street kitchens (fritangas) all this is served in banana leaves.
Indio viejo is corn bread with meat, onions, garlic, bell peppers and tomato, cooked in orange juice and broth. Vigorón is another popular dish consisting of boiled yuccarot (cassava), fried pork and white cabbage salad served in banana leaves. Soups with vegetables and in mixed meat, for example, soup de mondongo (komage soup) are also common. Rosquillas are cornbread baked with cheese and butter. On festive occasions, you prefer to eat grilled beef, preferably with quesitos, cream cheese and deep-fried food. Caballo bayo consists of various light dishes and is served at festive occasions or in restaurants.
Nacatamal is traditionally eaten as a Sunday breakfast, and consists of a meat and vegetable-filled corn flour dough cooked in banana leaves.
Pinol is a non-alcoholic beverage made from cornmeal and water, the drink tiste is made from cornmeal and cocoa and can be served cold or hot. But the most common non-alcoholic beverage is coffee. You can also drink fruit juices, often with sugar in them. Beer and rum are the most common alcoholic beverages, which are also produced in the country.
On the Pacific coast there is a lot of seafood, and fish also come from Lake Nicaragua. The Caribbean coast has a different food tradition. There you eat a lot of rindón – turtle meat, fish or pork cooked with special spices. Gaubal is a typical drink in eastern Nicaragua. It is made on green banana, milk, coconut water and sugar.
According to Countryaah, New Year, Independence Day in July and National Day in September are secular celebrations. Most other festivals have a Catholic connection. The parties are many and loud.
In February, El Güegüense is celebrated, a satirical music and dance drama that shows the resistance to colonial rule. El Güegüense was a powerful Indian and the word means elder in the Nahuatl Aztec language. El Güegüense is included in the UN body’s UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.
During Easter week, Jesus’ death and resurrection are celebrated greatly. On December 8, La Purísima is celebrated as a celebration of Virgin Mary’s divine conception. An altar is set up in the home and you go around to neighbors and friends and sing and worship the Virgin Mary. The host offers traditional sweets, fruits and in among small gifts. La Gritería (screaming) is directly linked to La Purísima. At 18 December, it is shouted from the churches of the country: Who gives this joy? The crowd outside then answers: Mary’s conception. Then the firefighters knock. At midnight, at 6 in the morning and 12 the day after, the melting continues.
Christmas Eve is celebrated with a large dinner, which often consists of ham or stuffed chicken, rice, nacatamales, tortillas and ponche, which is a rum drink. The Christmas presents are hidden in the house and the children, who believe that it is the child of Jesus who has left them, may begin to look for the midnight mass.
Every village celebrates its village saint once a year. Then it will be a big party for several days. Often it starts with a procession where a saint statue is carried around the village, followed by food, drink, music and dance. Most Latin American dances are popular, such as salsa, merengue and reggaeton. Firecrackers are a common feature of the parties. In the capital Managua, Saint Santo Domingo is celebrated in August.
Folk dance is an important element of many parties. Palo volador or “flying pile” is common. The “dancers” are tied in a high pole with the help of rope. The pile spins faster and faster and the “dancers” fly around to suggestive drum music. Marimba, a kind of xylophone, is also part of Nicaragua’s music tradition.
In the popular religion, the saints are at the center and they often ask for the saint’s help in sickness or other problems. In many homes there are saint images that are surrounded by flowers, candles and other decorations. You can give the saints small gifts in the hope of a good harvest, or to find a partner.
When someone dies, it is traditionally the spouse or spouse who arranges the body of the dead before the funeral. The body is first in the home, and family and friends can see the dead one last time.