So much of Nicaragua’s rich culture has been maintained through the years, despite globalization and other homogenizing factors. La Gigantona (the giant women) is hard to miss for visitors to Nicaragua, even if you don’t take a culture tour. That said, the advantage of Nicaragua culture tours with one of our expert guides, is that we reveal the history behind the dancing and drumming. The Gigantona is the image of a very large woman, who really knows how to dance. She is built from a 9 foot high wood frame decked out in a colored dress with a painted wooden head, long pony-tailed wig that all sits on top of a man’s shoulders and spins around to drum music and street poetry, accompanied by a huge-headed midget. This enormous woman was the creation of Nicaraguan indigenous street artists, to symbolize the un-attainability of the relatively tall white Spanish women. The big-headed midget represents the power of Spanish money, with this short balding man (wealthy and intelligent), being the only man permitted to dance with this towering woman. Another version of the legend has the short big headed man representing the local Indian, who although short in stature is more intelligent because of the size of his overly large brain. In the end the indigenous have the last laugh as the drumming is punctuated by humorous poetry which is usually includes a healthy serving of sardonic humor on current affairs or a roasting of those present for the performance. To view the Gigantona dance in action one needs to spend time at street café’s in Managua or Granada or be present for a festival in León, the birthplace of the tradition, where the Spanish administered Nicaragua during 297 years of colonial rule. In the city of Leon the 7th and 8th of December are big days for the actors and musicians that do the Gigantona dance with much dancing for the Virgin Mary festival on the night of the 7th and a Gigantona competition on the 8th.
Few Nicaragua travel packages offered today take the visitor up close and personal with native culture. Our Nicaragua culture tours packages do just that taking the visitor to a new level of understanding of the country they are visiting.