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Modernism Movement in Poetry
Augusto Flores Z.
The majority of Nicaraguans, those who live on the Pacific coast, have derived their culture from a mixture of the native Indians and the Spanish settlers of the 16th century. Consequently, many of the cities retain a strong Spanish influence and Catholicism is the dominant religion.
Those on the Atlantic, on the other hand, were more influenced by the English due to the fact that the English controlled that side up until the 19th century. Protestant religions are more common here than on the Pacific coast although Catholicism is still the dominant religion. There are only a few indigenous Indians left and they reside in the eastern half of the country and are the only group which has remained ethnically distinct and which has retained many of its tribal customs and languages.
Given the fact that the great majority of Nicaraguans are devout Catholics, it is not surprising that Holy Saint's days form a great part of Nicaragua's cultural charm and identity. Each city in Nicaragua has its own patron saint and some saints are generally shared between towns. The people give gifts to these saints in exchange for blessings such as healing, a good crop, or a husband. But perhaps even more important than the miracles which the people seek are the annual celebrations (fiestas) which are held for each saint.
These fiestas are times of great fun, joy, and excitement as everyone in the city joins in the celebration. The fiestas generally begin with a parade in which the statue of the saint is carried into the city. After that there could be traditional dances, plays, or rites. As the evening wears on, the tension mounts and more and more firecrackers and rockets explode. Everyone continues to eat, drink and be merry well into the night as longs as the roving musicians, clowns, and happy neighbors remain.
Go see a small Catholic procession in Managua.
Saints usually come into existence in a very predictable pattern. Some lucky person will find the statue somewhere and then good fortune will fall on someone because of it. The people will then erect a shrine or a church for it and give the saint a resting place. These saints are at once the people's hope for the future and a source of joy and entertainment. In good times and bad, the people can look to their saint for what they need, be it food to eat or a good time to make the monotonous days of farming pass by.