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
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.
Click here to watch