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Nicaragua Cultural Information

Nicaragua’s culture varies in different regions due to the many influences that were exerted on these different parts of Nicaragua. The majority of Nicaragua exhibits a strong Spanish influence, but other parts of Nicaragua are more influenced by the English culture.

In the beginning, the western part of Nicaragua was colonized by Spain. All people living in these areas were influenced by the Spanish culture and as a result are similar to other Spanish speaking countries. Spanish is Nicaragua’s first language and most of the people in Nicaragua practice Catholicism. But the Nicaraguan culture is not without native influences and the current culture in Nicaragua which is practiced amongst the present day mestizos (part Spanish, part Indian) is a mix of native Indian and Spanish culture.

The east of Nicaragua was once controlled by Britain and thus the influence here was strongly English. Most of the people in the east of Nicaragua still speak English as their first language and there are more Protestant people in these areas. However, in general there are more Catholics than Protestants. The culture on the Atlantic side of the country is closer to that found in the Caribbean and there is a large number of people who came from Africa as well as a small Garinagu (Carib Indians) population.

In the east of Nicaragua, there is a small group which has remained very distinct from the rest of Nicaragua. These people have managed to keep many of their tribal customs and languages and these people prove to be very intriguing to outsiders who show interest in finding out more about these cultures. Among these cultures are the Ramas and Sumos people.

The result of the mixture of native customs and Catholicism has resulted in a culture with lots of celebrations which are based on honoring of their saints. Each Nicaraguan town has its patron saint. Some of the towns share their saints. The people of Nicaragua engage in annual festivities in their honor and give these saints gifts to get blessing of their saints like having a healthy crop or finding a partner. The festivities normally start with a parade thru the streets in which they show a statue of the saint. Traditional Nicaraguan dances, ceremonies and plays are most of the times a part of such festivals. They light fireworks and crackers and they eat and drink and feast until the sun rises again. They entertain the public by clowns and musicians and the festival goes on in the early hours of daylight the next morning.