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Culture in Nicaragua
 
 
 

General

Nicaraguan culture has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by European culture but enriched with Amerindian sounds and flavours. Nicaraguan culture can further be defined in several distinct strands. The Pacific coast has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by Europeans. It was colonised by Spain and has a similar culture to other Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. The Caribbean coast of the country, on the other hand, was once a British protectorate. English is still predominant in this region and spoken domestically along with Spanish and indigenous languages. Its culture is similar to that of Caribbean nations that were or are British possessions, such as Jamaica, Belize, The Cayman Islands, etc. The indigenous groups that were present in the Pacific coast have largely been assimilated into the mestizo culture, however, the indigenous people of the Caribbean coast have maintained a distinct identity.

Literature

The Literature of Nicaragua can be traced to pre-Columbian times with the myths and oral literature that formed the cosmogonic view of the world that indigenous people had. Some of these stories are still known in Nicaragua. Like many Latin American countries, the Spanish conquerors have had the most effect on both the culture and the literature. The literature of Nicaragua has had many important literary figures in the Spanish language with internationally prominent writers such as Rubén Darío, who is regarded as the most important literary figure in Nicaragua. He is referred to as the "Father of Modernism" for leading the modernismo literary movement at the end of the 19th century. Other important literary figures include Ernesto Cardenal, Sergio Ramirez Mercado, Gioconda Belli, Jose Coronel Urtecho, Alfonso Cortés, Julio Valle Castillo and Claribel Alegría, among others.

El Güegüense

El Güegüense is a satirical drama and was the first literary work of pre-Columbian Nicaragua. It is regarded as one of Latin Americas most distinctive colonial-era expressions and as Nicaragua's signature folkloric masterpiece combining music, dance and theatre. El Güegüense is performed during the feast of San Sebastián in Diriamba (Carazo department) from January 17 to the 27th.

The theatrical play was written by an anonymous author in the 16th century, making it one of the oldest indigenous theatrical/dance works of the Western Hemisphere. It was passed down orally for many centuries until it was finally written down and published into a book in 1942.

El Güegüense represents folklore of Nicaragua, therefore, UNESCO proclaimed it a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" in 2005 making Nicaragua the only country in Central America and one of six in Latin America to have 2 proclaimed masterpieces by UNESCO. The first proclaimed masterpiece was the "Oral traditions and expressions" of the Garifuna.


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