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The feast day of Saint Sebastian

Every January 20, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day ot the Holy Martyr Saint Sebastian


The feast day of St. Sebastian is unique in Nicaragua. This feast stands above all the rest celebrations as Nicaragua's most authentic connection to its people's indigenous and spanish 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.


The day before the feast, on January 19, a holy mass is celebrated. Right after the mass the image of St. Sebastian leaves the Basilica of Diriamba to go to the town of Dolores to meet his friends, Saint Mark of San Marcos and Santiago of Jinotepe. This encounter is known as "El Tope". The saints are escorted by their people, the dancers and the mounted parade horses. The yellow flag of the Catholic Church tremolo in front of the saints like paying a tribute to the beloved image of “Guachan”, as the people of Diriamba call St. Sebastian.


The celebrations last several days, from the 17 to the 27 of January.  During the feast, the people of Diriamba offer local food and drinks to the visitors. The traditional dances: the Toro Huaco, El Güegüense or Marcho Raton, and Las Inditas performance on the street showing their shining suits with adornments of showy colors in fulfillment of promises to the Patron Saint. Another beautiful local dance is The Giant, traditional dance based on the Biblical passage of David and Goliat.


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