By: Katherine Flores
Don’t you love it when families come together for the holidays? Nicaraguans come from all over the globe to be reunited with their loved ones for Christmas and New Years each year.
On December 24th, families across Nicaragua will host their special Christmas Eve dinner. Some families encourage their children to write letters to baby Jesus, who is also the bearer of gifts, asking for toys or special wishes. Celebrating Christmas doesn’t only happen in the home, but on the streets as well. Before the stroke of midnight, you will hear and see fireworks light up the night sky. As you watch the fireworks, you will see families, friends, and neighbors enjoying this tradition, sometimes dancing in the streets, as they share in the “Abrazo Navideño” (Christmas hug).
The holiday celebration doesn't stop there as the following week, Nicaraguans will flood the streets with their contagious joy and excitement as they light up the sky once again with fireworks. But, Nicaraguans also have a special tradition that ushers them into the New Year. This tradition is translated as “burning of the old year”. What does this mean? Well, families will make a scarecrow-like doll and dress it in old clothes (socks, pants, shirts, hats) and place it at the front door. They also stuff the doll with gunpowder and a wick so that at the stroke of midnight they can light the doll. After the explosions and fire, the “old year” quickly disappears and they welcome the New Year.
***If you plan to adopt this tradition, we recommend that you handle all flammable items with caution.