Celebrate Holy Week in Leon, Nicaragua

Beach, processions and sawdust carpets are the highlights of Holy Week in the Nicaraguan city of Leon. A week that focuses on religion and party, how do these two opposite things come together? I think is the combination of young people, tourist and devote people celebrating the same holiday with different perspectives.

But no matter in which group you are (even if you are in more than one), it is a week to be on the streets and breathe the Nicaraguan culture.  

Go to the beach

For one week is the time for Nicaraguans to leave everything behind, fill a pickup truck with more than twenty people and leave to the beach of Las Peñitas or Poneloya.

The beach is the perfect spot to enjoy these days off and get out of the city. Even the Red Cross has a special plan for the week, more than 100 volunteers watch the beach constantly because this is the week when more accidents happen in the whole year.

The buses are crowded and finish really early, so if you want to spend the whole day in the ocean and be able to see the sunset, the right way to do it is hitchhiking; it is the best time to put your thumb up and stop some cars, don’t worry, there are plenty of trucks, cars and even trollies that would stop for some tourist.

Appreciate the processions

However the real Easter week happens in the city, every day you will cross several processions with music, saints followed by the cross and different Jesus statues.

Everyone has a different purpose, asking locals is the best way to know it, they love to talk about their traditions and are the best source of knowledge.

When one procession collapse a street is no way out, you will notice that people have different costumes for each one, also the exhaustion and pride of the people carrying the status and, if you are lucky, you will see the procession of a cowboy Jesus on a donkey (believe me, you don’t want to miss it!).

Colorful sawdust carpets

Another tradition from Leon is their sawdust carpets, every day in different parts of the city. People start really early in the morning and spend all day under the sun building these beautiful carpets with religious meanings. They dye the sawdust for creating elaborated pictures on the floor.

The best ones are in Sutiava neighborhood and happen between 10 am and 6 pm.

I will recommend going around 4 pm, this is the perfect time to see some carpets done and still seeing some Nicaraguans working hard on them. They are colorful and very detailed, ready for being part of good pictures.

Holy Week in the Nicaraguan city of Leon is a time to get out and enjoy the streets.

It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, you can admire the work and effort of the local people to celebrate this holiday, you can also appreciate the cultural differences and see events that can only happen in that Holy Week.

Have you celebrated easter in Nicaragua? What’s your favorite tradition? Leave a comment


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