On September 15th we celebrate the Independence Day of Nicaragua! We wish a happy celebration to all our amazing team members from Nicaragua! We are very grateful and happy to have you in our multicultural Nobel team.
Last year, on the occasion of Nicaragua’s National Day, we learned about this beautiful country’s history, geography and so much more, but this year we want to expand our knowledge towards other interesting aspects of the Nicaraguan culture, cuisine, daily life, travel attractions, language and more.
Our lovely Nobel Country Ambassador from Nicaragua – Josue Moreira kindly accepted to share with us some fascinating details about his home country. Join us below in discovering new things about this Latin American country:
- Some of the most popular legends, myths or superstitions that are present in Nicaragua include:
- La Mocuana: The Nicaraguan folkloric legend of La Mocuana is believed to be based on genuine history and it is thought that La Mocuana was a living Indian princess. Her father was hospitable to the Spanish conquerors at first but then ordered them to leave. Soon the Spanish forces returned to take over the village and take their gold. The chief of the village had hidden the treasure and his daughter, La Mocuana, was the only other individual who knew its whereabouts. During a battle between the two groups, the tribe gained victory. Sometime later the son of one of the Spanish soldiers came to live near the village and soon fell in love with La Macuana. She too fell in love with him and they planned to run away together. She gave him her father’s treasure so that they could have something for their lives together. The Spaniard preferred to keep the gold for himself and sealed La Macuana in a cave, running away with the treasure. La Mocuana escaped through the back of the cave. The heartbroken princess began to wander the woods and was driven mad by the thoughts of betrayal and feelings of guilt. Country people say that her sad figure can be seen on dark nights. She is also said to lure drunkards and philanderers to her cave where they disappear.
- El Cadejo: There is a good white cadejo and an evil black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travelers. The white cadejo to protect them from harm during their journey, and the black cadejo (sometimes an incarnation of the devil) to kill them. The cadejos usually appear in the form of a large, cow-sized shaggy dog with burning red eyes and a goat’s hooves, although in some areas they have more bull-like characteristics. According to the stories, those who have attempted to kill the black cadejo have failed and perished.
- La Cegua: Also called Cihuanaba, Cegua is probably a romanization of the nahuatl “Cihua” which means “woman”. La Cegua is a witch who resides in the woods. She takes on several facades. At times she appears in a white corn leaf dress with a veil covering her face. It is said that she has long black hair covering her face. She is also said to wear a Guarumo Tree leaf dress and her voice is made rasping and hollow by plantain leaves covering her teeth. Others say that her face is ghostly and that her eyes stare into her victim’s souls. Still another version says that she is believed to have the face of a horse. Nicaraguans also say that she walks through the woods and back roads naked, waiting for her next victim. Men are drawn to her fantastical silhouette. The words she speaks to these men are so horrific that the victim goes insane instantaneously – something from which they never recover. La Cegua is believed to have super-human abilities and is able to walk through solid objects, gravitate above ground and fly at extreme speeds in her efforts to lure men into her trap. To save yourself from such an encounter you should carry mustard seeds and throw them before her. She apparently will stop to try and pick up the magical seeds. As with other myths in Nicaraguan folklore, the tale of La Cegua is believed to ensure that men come straight home after work.
- La Llorona: Sometimes called the Woman in White or the Weeping Woman, La Llorona is the ghost of a woman crying for her dead children. Her appearances are sometimes held to presage death.
- La Carreta Nagua: An old Nicaraguan folk tale about a haunted cart that is driven by death and pulled by two skeletal oxen. It could supposedly be heard at night because of the sound of chains it made being dragged along the streets. If the “Carreta Nagua” stops at one’s home, surely a resident is to die. The old tale is believed to have been established by the indigenous people of Nicaragua, who would be kidnapped by the Spaniards, chained onto ox-driven carts and taken to work the mines. There they would die and not be seen again until their corpses were driven on those same carts to be disposed of. Such carts became a symbol of death and, when heard approaching, the indigenous people would flee into the wood.
- Besides the Independence Day celebration on September 15th, Nicaraguans also commemorate other important historical events each year, such as:
- Revolution Day (July 19th): On this day, there is no means of transportation because the government uses all the buses in order to celebrate in Managua.
- August 1st & 10th: The capital celebrates Santo Domingo de Guzman (Patron Saint) Festivals and horse parade in Managua, both days.
- Battle of San Jacinto – 1856 (September 14th): Celebrated on the national level, the festivities are held on the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto against William Walker.
- December 16th marks the anniversary of the city of Estelí. A horse parade is held on the third Sunday of December.
- If you find yourself in Nicaragua and want something to eat, make sure to try these delicacies that are always present on locals’ tables:
- Nacatamales: Tamales are a famous part of Mexican cuisine, but this version is found in Nicaragua and Honduras, and is made with a corn dough, then stuffed with pork, potato, pepper, tomatoes and onion, along with distinctive seasoning.
- Guirila: This Nicaraguan food originated in the Matagalpa region in the north of the country. It is a type of tortilla that is made with young corn. It has a sweet and thick dough that is cooked in banana leaves and then served with the local crumbly white cheese.
- Gallo Pinto: A mixture of rice and beans that most Nicaraguans eat almost daily and it is considered a national symbol.
- Vigoron: Originally from Granada, you can find this everywhere from street vendors to house parties. Traditionally a plate is covered with a part of a plantain tree leaf, then topped with yucca, pork, chicharrón and a salad of cabbage and tomato.
- Vaho: Usually eaten as a Sunday meal, vaho is made with beef, plantains and yucca chunks. It is cooked in banana leaves, and topped with a fresh salad of cabbage and tomato.
- The cost of public transportation in Nicaragua is around $0.27 to $0.50. A monthly rent could cost $150 or more, it may vary depending on the house and the place where it is located. On a hotel you can spend around $50 up to $100 when talking about good places, but there are cheaper places for less than $30 as well. A cab ride may vary depending on the city and the distance that will be traveled, but it should be around $0.50 up to $3.
- People may rarely live together in a house in Nicaragua. Something common to see will be a family living on the same land but in different houses, or each family in different houses and places.
- In case you are curious about the educational system in Nicaragua, kids there go to kindergarten that could take 1 or 2 years, then elementary school that take 6 years to complete, then high school which will take 5 years to complete. After completing the last two mentioned, you can go to the university, which can take 4 to 7 years to complete depending on the career, and at last you can go for a master’s degree.
- Every house in Nicaragua has a TV no matter the class.
- The best places to visit in Nicaragua and highly recommended by our colleague Josue are Selva Negra, Ometepe Island and Corn Island.
- There are multiple reptile species unique to Nicaragua including the Saslaya Graceful Brown Snake (Rhadinella rogerromani) and a blind snake (Epictia rioignis).
- Some Nicaraguan national plants worth mentioning are the Anthurium beltianum and the Caesalpinia nicaraguensis.
- A special word used in Nicaragua is Tuani or Deacachimba, meaning awesome, something really good (for example, it can be used to say a food is good).
- Ideay is an all-encompassing Nicaraguan slang term used to express amazement, surprise, bad news, or it can even replace the word “why” (“¿por qué?”) in a question. In general, this word works for almost everything. Example: “Ideay ya no llego a tiempo a la reunion.” – “Gosh, I’m not gonna be on time for the meeting.”