Stealing and interracial harmony: a few of Nicaragua’s April festivals

There are lots of interesting festivals and parties going on in the month of April, including the Semana Santa festivals around the country (many of which are not to be missed) and the Carnival in Managua. Here are three of the lesser-known but equally fascinating events going on around Nicaragua in April.

judas night nicaraguaDid you know there is a Nicaraguan holiday when the kids go out and steal? (No, that isn’t every night, Mr. Funnyguy). It’s called Judas Night and it is “celebrated” late Easter Sunday night by kids going out into their barrios and hanging up effigies of Judas. Take inventory of your patio Monday morning because if you find stuff missing it was probably taken by Judas and placed under the effigy (or it is for sale in Oriental…funny how traditions evolve). You might also find a list of all the barrio’s dirty laundry pinned to Judas’ chest…what neighbors were drunk in church or fooling around on their spouses or stealing from each other. But you can’t blame the kids…it was Judas who did it.

This month I tried to find the most obscure festival of April and if it isn’t San Martin de Porres I don’t know what it could be. Saint Martin de Porres is the patron saint of interracial harmony and claims miracles of talking to animals, being in two places at the same time and levitation among other more common marvels. He is celebrated in two places at once on the 19th, Nueva Guinea and Paiwas. Please please please if you go, let me know what it is like. I am very curious how a levitating, horse-whispering black saint is celebrated in rural Nicaragua.

Ever heard of El Paso de Panaloya? It isn’t what happens when your diarrhea medicine doesn’t work. It is a village outside of Granada where the go all out as best they can to celebrate the Virgen de los Desamparados on the 26th. There are lots of games, dances, cultural activities and other family fun type things like cockfighting going on.

These are a few of the April celebrations in my book, the NCX Guide to Festivals and Events in Nicaragua, a travel guide that lists over 200+ fiestas throughout the year. You can pick it up on Amazon, Lucha Libro in Granada and Buho Books in Leon.

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