Give thanks for festivals in November

Did you know that there are nearly 20 festivals going on somewhere in Nicaragua this month? Besides the parades of devils and demons, the celebrations of the Virgin wearing a sombrero and the dance of the leafcutter ants, here are three of my picks for where to go to get a taste of the real Nicaragua.

The celebration of San Carlos Borromeo takes place on the 4th in San Carlos and seems a bit typical at first. Saint statue carried around town, check. Marching bands, check. Parades of dancers, check. Then at the shores of Lake Cocibolca Mr. San Carlos meets up with Mr. San Francisco de Asis, patron saint of Los Chiles, Costa Rica. They then fight to the death celebrate faith and brotherhood between the two communities, proving once again that little statues overcome politics. Don’t forget the mechanical bulls and maybe real bulls. Starts 10am.

Garifuna guifiti in Orinoco
A strange brew of roots, sticks and leaves. Garinagu approved.

On the 19th the hijos de punta will be shaking everything from the hips down in the remote Caribbean village Orinoco for the annual celebration of Garifuna Day. Fueled by the infectious beat of drums, rundown with bami and their homemade hooch guifiti, the Garifuna people of the Caribbean coast will show you what makes their culture so unique. It’s a party that goes on till the sun comes up. Get there by catching the boat at 5:30am from Bluefields. Get that boat buy buying a ticket before they sell out. Get your ticket by contacting Atlantic Tour.

And of course who can forget about every hungry person’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving? Well, if you are Nicaraguan, go ahead. But instead of stuffing your face with stuffing (frozen turkeys can be found a La Colonia, by the way), head down to Diriamba to celebrate the UNESCO declaration of the Güegüense as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. They will be out in full regalia performing the play that is so famous that every kid has to learn it in school. Happens on the 25th. And bring your camera!

These are a few of the November celebrations in my new book, the NCX Guide to Festivals and Events in Nicaragua, a travel guide that lists over 200+ fiestas throughout the year. And a quick reminder of Lucha Libro’s event coming up quickly in Granada on the 2nd. It’s four authors in one night of literature, politics and conversation. For more info: https://www.facebook.com/LuchaLibroBooks/events.

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