The Passion of Christ in Nicaragua
Holy Week Festival Traditions in Nicaragua
7 days – 6 nights
Across Latin America Semana Santa (or Holy Week), the remembrance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, marks the most important religious holiday of the year. In Nicaragua Holy Week is a time of varied and fascinating festivals that blend ancient Spanish Catholic traditions with indigenous rituals, creating unique festivals. Nicaragua’s Holy Week strives to remind people of the story of Christ’s sacrifice and as often as possible adhere as close as possible to its historical reality. This special interest tour spans several different celebrations of Holy Week and accentuates what makes Nicaragua special in the celebration of the Passion of Christ. The backdrop for these celebrations is two of the oldest cities in the Americas, León and Granada and the highlight of the program could be the special colored sawdust street paintings (or “carpets”) made on Good Friday in the indigenous barrio of Sutiaba in León. Not only will this fascinating tradition that marries art and religion be revealed in striking colors, but the visitor will also have the unprecedented opportunity to participate in the creation of a Holy Week street painting under the expert guidance of Sutiaba’s most acclaimed Good Friday sawdust artist. Join us for a cultural procession that walks across the centuries of time, a unique journey of heart and soul.
Holy Week Festival Traditions Itinerary
HOLY MONDAY: MANAGUA – GRANADA
Airport greeting and transfer south to the shores of Lake Nicaragua and Central America’s oldest European settlement, colonial Granada. Lodging on Central Park at the Hotel Plaza Colón.
HOLY TUESDAY: GRANADA – LAS ISLETAS ARCHIPELAGO – GRANADA
Morning transfer to Lake Nicaragua and the 354 island archipelago of Las Isletas. This water-bound community has a unique celebration of Holy Week done with processions entirely in boat. Private boat following of the Holy Week boat processions in the archipelago. Return to Granada for lodging at Hotel Plaza Colón.
HOLY WEDNESDAY: NANDAIME – MASAYA – NINDIRÍ – GRANADA
Visits to some of the ancient villages of Los Pueblos de la Meseta to experience how these Chorotega Indian villages celebrate Holy Wednesday. In the village of Nandaime at 12:00 noon the town’s ancient church bells come alive and chaos breaks loose when a scene from the bible is played out on the townspeople who run fleeing from the costumed castigators. Visit to the historic city of Masaya and then in the late afternoon the tiny village of Nindirí, populated since at least 1,000 BC and scene of a theatrical recreation of the Passion of Christ in central park. At night the villagers create sawdust paintings in their historic 16th century church and we will watch this process. Return to Granada for lodging at Hotel Plaza Colón.
HOLY THURSDAY: GRANADA – LEON
Transfer north to the intellectual and religious capital of Nicaragua, León. Tour of some of León’s 12 colonial period churches, including the Cathedral, the grandest temple in all of Central America. Meeting with a sawdust street painter to learn how the Good Friday street paintings are made in preparation for the elaboration of a special street carpet painting on Good Friday in Sutiaba. Lodging in the historic center at the Hotel El Convento.
GOOD FRIDAY: LEON – SUTIABA
The richest and most impressive day of celebrations for Holy Week and there is no better place to be than León. The barrio of Sutiaba starts with re-enactments of the Passion of Christ in the morning and then in the afternoon the Good Friday procession carpets are prepared by the residents of this historic neighborhood. We will help in the creation of a religious street painting made out of brightly died sawdust. This kind of painting has brought much fame to the city of Antigua in Guatemala, but the residents of León’s Sutiaba barrio are quick to point out that the Guatemalans create their carpets with molds, while the beautiful colored carpets of Sutiaba are elaborated totally freehand. After completion of the street painting and a dinner break we watch as the evening procession of the deceased Christ honors the religious painting sawdust carpets by trampling them into historical oblivion. Lodging at Hotel El Convento.
HOLY SATURDAY: LEON – MANAGUA
Breakfast and late morning transfer to Managua for lodging at the Hotel Intercontinental, walking distance to Managua’s new Cathedral.
EASTER SUNDAY: MANAGUA
Breakfast and for early departures transfer to airport for flight home. For late departures a chance to catch the Easter morning celebrations near the hotel at the new Cathedral. Then transfer to airport for flight home.
Holy Week Festival Traditions Tour Includes:
- All transfers in private vehicle with a/c with professional driver
- All driver expenses
- Assistance of an English speaking guide from Holy Tuesday to Good Friday
- All guide expenses
- All breakfasts
- 3 nights lodging at the Hotel Plaza Colón in Granada
- 2 nights lodging at the Hotel El Convento in León
- 2 nights lodging at the Hotel Intercontinental in Managua
- Visits to the festival events and processions in the itinerary
- Training and elaboration of a sawdust-carpet painting guided by a master
- 17% hotel taxes for all hotel nights
Holy Week changes year to year, below are upcoming Holy Week
|Apr 14, 2014 – Apr 19, 2014||Holy Week 2014|
|Mar 30, 2015 – Apr 4, 2015||Holy Week 2015|
|Mar 21, 2016 – Mar 26, 2016||Holy Week 2016|
Important Note: Nicaraguan Festivals are often unpredictable events that depend on the will and time of each church congregation. We ask that the traveler is flexible and understanding that these traditions are not being staged for visitors, nor are Nicaraguans by nature overly concerned about times or schedules. We can assure you that our guide will do his best to make sure that you can experience real Nicaraguan culture as it happens, but at times events start late or not at all. The bottom line is you must be flexible and willing to go with the flow to enjoy this kind of cultural expedition.
Visit costs depend on the number of travelers in your party and visit dates; please specify when requesting a quote. Custom festival and holy week visit itineraries are available upon request.
Holy Week Traditions of Nicaragua Tour does not include: Drinks, lunch or dinner. International flights or airport taxes. Travel insurance, tips, visas, or medical treatment.