La Griteria

La Griteria is celebrated throughout Central and South America annually on December 7. Translated roughly into English as "The Shouting," the religious celebration is a holy nod to the Virgin Mary preceding her conception on December 8. Nicaraguans in particular adore the holiday, calling it one of the happiest events of the year and one they anxiously await.

Regarding how La Griteria is celebrated, pretty much every household installs an altar devoted to the Virgin Mary outside their houses so that the entire neighborhood is one, giant devotional expanse. Adults and children head out together at 6 pm, visiting each home in the neighborhood. Upon arrival, they begin shouting "What is the cause of so much happiness?" The response from inside the house comes next, which is "The Conception of Saint Maria!" This exchange happens simultaneously through the area churches and cathedrals while scores of fireworks are let off. This is most impressive in larger cities like Granada and Managua.

Following this neighborly exchange, the visitors begin singing a variety of religious songs which praise the sanctity and glory of the Virgin Mary. Presents are given out by the residents to the singers. These include a wide array of things that don’t follow any one theme; laundry detergent, noise makers, candy, ice cream, balloons, matches—almost anything qualifies. Less fortunate families generally give out small gifts while those that are well off tend to offer more expensive items during La Griteria.

La Griteria is one of the most boisterous and merry religious celebrations in Nicaragua. It’s tied directly to another celebration devoted to the Virgin Mary called La Purisima, which happens the day after La Griteria. Anyone visiting will enjoy one of the most exciting and happy times in the country when  virtually everyone is in a great mood, thanking the Virgin Mary for all the miracles bestowed upon them in their lives. If visiting during this time, be sure to book Nicaragua hotels well ahead of time as families tend to gather together and cities get very busy.

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