During the days leading up to the Immaculate Conception, Nicas set out statues of the Virgin, creatively decorated and lit up near the front of their homes.
brindi: homemade goodies, snacks, small toys and prizes, free stuff! I enjoyed traditional foods such as a baked squash with honey, raw sugar cane, and a gingery beverage that I plan on concocting myself.
The final night of the celebration is La Gritería, or The Shouting (are you feeling the halloween vibe now?)
At precisely 6pm all over Nicaragua, fireworks are ignited and people flood the street to shout:
Quién causa tanta alegría?
La Concepción de María!
What is the cause of our happiness?
The joyful noise is to thank Mary for the miracles she performs. A deluge of people, young and old, rich and poor, then parade through town to visit the literally HUNDREDS of altars.
More fireworks and shouting occur at midnight and the following morning at 6am, after which a sacred silence is observed. This is a very holy day in the Catholic church, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Visiting homes, making new friends, and just cruising the streets at night amongst a boisterous crowd made the event for me. Not to mention coming home with all my brindi!