Top Ten Nicaragua Adventures

Join the Fiesta de Diriamba
By Joshua Berman & Randy Wood
Colorful festival goer
A colorful reveler gets into the groove (Randy Wood)

Every pueblo's fiesta patronales has something that makes it unique, but Diriamba's celebration of the Holy Martyr San Sebastian stands above the rest as Nicaragua's most authentic connection to its people's indigenous roots. Many of the dances, songs, and costumes are true to the traditions that predate the arrival of the Spanish by hundreds of years. But this is no nostalgia act—indeed, the integration of pre-Columbian ritual with Catholicism and the telling of modern history is as fascinating as the colors, costumes, and music.

This is actually three fiestas for the price of one, since icons of San Santiago of Jinotepe and San Marcos (of San Marcos) have been celebrated together since the three of them first traveled from Spain, landing at the nearby Casares beach. The three are still believed to have the special bond they formed during their journey, and they get together to celebrate three times a year during the fiesta of each of their towns. Santiago and Marcos meet up at the tope (end of the rope) in Dolores on (or around) January 19, where they are danced around the village to a bombardment of cheers and homemade fireworks. The next day they reunite with their pal Sebastian, in Diriamba, where the town has been partying for four days in preparation.

Text © 2003 by Joshua Berman and Randy Wood. Used by permission of Moon Handbooks. All rights reserved. Book is available through local bookstores and online booksellers.


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