Culture of Nicaragua

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Celebrating the annual "Alegria por la vida" Carnaval in Maua CarnavalNica.jpg
Celebrating the annual "Alegría por la vida" Carnaval in Maua

Culture

A Nicaragua Independence Day Parade, Matagalpa, 2007. Independencedayparade1.jpg
A Nicaragua Independence Day Parade, Matagalpa, 2007.

Music and religious icons in Iberian culture and Amerindian sounds and flavors. The west of Nicaragua was colonized by Spain and has a similar culture to other Spanish-speaking American countries. The eastern half of the country, on the other hand, was once a British protectorate, and English spoken domestically along with Spanish and indigenous languages. Its culture is similar to that of former and present British colonies in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, Belize, the Cayman Islands, etc.

Iberian Peninsula Peninsula located in southwest Europe

The Iberian Peninsula, also known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.

A protectorate, in its inception adopted by modern international law, is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy and some independence while still retaining the suzerainty of a greater sovereign state. In exchange for this, the protectorate usually accepts specified obligations, which may vary greatly, depending on the real nature of their relationship. Therefore, a protectorate remains an autonomous part of a sovereign state. They are different from colonies as they have local rulers and people ruling over the territory and experience rare cases of immigration of settlers from the country it has suzerainty of. However, a state which remains under the protection of another state but still retains independence is known as a protected state and is different from protectorates.

Jamaica Country in the Caribbean

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola.

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Recent immigration by Spanish speakers has largely influenced younger generations, and an increasing number of people are either bilingual at home or speak Spanish only. There is a relatively large population of people of mixed African descent, as well as a smaller Garifuna population.

Due to the African influence in the East Coast, there exists a different kind of music. It is the popular dance music called 'Palo de Mayo', or Maypole, which is celebrated during the Maypole Festival, during the month of May. The music is sensual with intense rhythms. The celebration is derived from the British Maypole for May Day celebration, as adapted and transformed by the Afro-Nicaraguans on the Caribbean or Mosquito Coast.

Palo de Mayo is a type of Afro-Caribbean dance with sensual movements that forms part of the culture of several communities in the RAAS region in Nicaragua, as well as Belize, the Bay Islands of Honduras and Bocas del Toro in Panama. It is also the name given to the month-long May Day festival celebrated on the Caribbean coast. Both the festival and dance are an Afro-Nicaraguan tradition which originated in Bluefields, Nicaragua in the 17th century.

Maypole tall wooden pole for Spring festival

A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected as a part of various European folk festivals, around which a maypole dance often takes place.

May Day an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday

May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on 1 May. It is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the festivities. In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. International Workers' Day can also be referred to as "May Day", but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day.

Of the many cultures that were present before European colonization, the Nahuatl-speaking peoples who populated the west of the country have essentially been assimilated into the mainstream culture. In the east, however, several indigenous groups have maintained a distinct identity. The Miskito, Sumo, Garifuna, and Rama people still use their original languages, and also usually speak Spanish and English.

Colonization is a process by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land and its components.

Nahuatl, known historically as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.

Mainstream is current thought that is widespread. It includes all popular culture and media culture, typically disseminated by mass media. It is to be distinguished from subcultures and countercultures, and at the opposite extreme are cult followings and fringe theories.

Language

Languages of Nicaragua
Language Speakers
Arabic 400
Chinese 7,000
English 20,334
Garífuna 1,500
Miskito 154,400
Sign language 3,000
Spanish 4,347,000
Sumo 6,700
Rama 24
Creole English 30,000
Source: Ethnologue [1]

Spanish, or Nicañol as Nicaraguan Spanish is sometimes referred to, is spoken by 90% of the country's population. In the Caribbean coast many afro-Nicaraguans and creoles speak English and creole English as their first language. Also in the Caribbean coast, many Indigenous people speak their native languages, such as the Miskito, Sumo, Rama and Garifuna language. [2]

Miskito is a Misumalpan language spoken by the Miskito people in northeastern Nicaragua, especially in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, and in eastern Honduras.

Rama is one of the indigenous languages of the Chibchan family spoken by the Rama people on the island of Rama Cay and south of lake Bluefields on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Other indigenous languages of this region include Miskito and Sumu. Rama is one of the northernmost languages of the Chibchan family.

Garifuna (Karif) is a minority language widely spoken in villages of Garifuna people in the western part of the northern coast of Central America.

In addition, many ethnic groups in Nicaragua, such as the Chinese Nicaraguans and Palestinian Nicaraguans, have maintained their ancestral languages, which are minority languages, while also speaking Spanish and/or English. These minority languages include Chinese, Arabic, German, and Italian, among others. Nicaragua was home to 3 extinct languages, one of which was never classified. Nicaraguan Sign Language is also of particular interest to linguists.

Ethnic group Socially defined category of people who identify with each other

An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art or physical appearance.

Palestinian Nicaraguans are Nicaraguans of Palestinian ancestry who were born in or have immigrated to Nicaragua. They are part of the ethnic Arab diaspora.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Spanish

A sign in Bluefields in English (top), Spanish (middle) and Miskito (bottom). BluefieldsSign.jpg
A sign in Bluefields in English (top), Spanish (middle) and Miskito (bottom).

Central American Spanish is spoken by about 90% of the country's population. In Nicaragua, the voseo form of Spanish is dominant in both speech and publications. The first nation to formally adopt the voseo dialect, Nicaragua is one two Central American nations (Costa Rica is the other) that use voseo Spanish as its written and spoken form of the language. The usage is also seen in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and coastal Colombia.

In the Caribbean coast, many Afro-Nicaraguans and creoles speak English and creole English as their first language, but they speak a very fluent Spanish as a second language. The languages in the North and South Atlantic Regions are influenced by English, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and French. Many of the indigenous people on the Caribbean coast speak native languages such as the Miskito, Sumo, Rama and Garifuna language. [2] In addition, many ethnic groups in Nicaragua have maintained their ancestral languages, while also speaking Spanish or English; these include Chinese, Arabic, German, Hawaiian, and Italian.

Spanish is taught as the principal language. English is taught to students during their high school years and tends to be the national second language. Other languages, particularly Romance languages, can be found sporadically.

Phonetics and phonology

Some characteristics of Nicaraguan phonology include:

  • /s/ at the end of a syllable or before a consonant is pronounced like [h].
  • /j/ (/x/) is aspirated; it is soft like the /h/ in English (e.g.: Yahoo).
  • There is no confusion between /l/ and /r/, as in the Caribbean.
  • /s/, /z/ and in some cases /c/ (as in cerrar) are pronounced as [s]

Religion

Religious affiliation in Nicaragua
Religion Percentage
Roman Catholic 58.5%
Evangelical 21.6%
Moravian 1.6%
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.9%
None15.7%
Other11.6%
1Includes Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism among other religions.
Source: 2005 Nicaraguan Census [3]

Religion is a significant part of the culture of Nicaragua and forms part of the constitution. Religious freedom, which has been guaranteed since 1939, and religious tolerance is promoted by both the Nicaraguan government and the constitution. Bishops are expected to lend their authority to important state occasions, and their pronouncements on national issues are closely followed. They can also be called upon to mediate between contending parties at moments of political crisis. [4]

Although Nicaragua has no official religion it is nominally Roman Catholic. Practicing Roman Catholics are no longer the majority and are declining while evangelical Protestant groups and membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) are growing rapidly have been growing since the 1990s. There are also strong Anglican and Moravian communities on the Caribbean coast.

Roman Catholicism came to Nicaragua in the sixteenth century with the Spanish conquest and remained until 1939 the established faith. Protestantism and other Christian sects came to Nicaragua during the nineteenth century, but only during the twentieth century have Protestant denominations gained large followings in the Caribbean Coast of the country. Popular religion revolves around the saints, who are perceived as intermediaries between human beings and God. [4]

Most localities, from the capital of Managua to small rural communities, honor patron saints selected from the Roman Catholic calendar, with annual fiestas. In many communities, a rich lore has grown up around the celebrations of patron saints, such as Managua's Saint Dominic (Santo Domingo), honored in August with two colorful, often riotous, day-long processions through the city. The high point of Nicaragua's religious calendar for the masses is neither Christmas nor Easter, but La Purísima, a week of festivities in early December dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, during which elaborate altars to the Virgin Mary are constructed in homes and workplaces. [4]

Music

Carlos Mejia Godoy, a prominent Nicaragua musician and composer. Carlos Mejia Godoy by jorgemejia.jpg
Carlos Mejía Godoy, a prominent Nicaragua musician and composer.

Modern Nicaraguan music is a mixture of indigenous and European, especially Spanish, influences. Musical instruments include the marimba and others common across Central America.

Marimba of Nicaragua is uniquely played by a sitting performer holding the instrument on his knees. He is usually accompanied by a bass fiddle, guitar and Guallatiri (a small guitar like a mandolin). This music is played at social functions as a sort of background music. The marimba is made with hardwood plates, placed over bamboo or metal tubes of varying lengths. It is played with two or four hammers.

The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is known for a lively, sensual form of dance music that is especially loud and celebrated during the May Palo de Mayo festival. The Garifuna community exists in Nicaragua and is known for its popular music called Punta. Also, soca music, reggaeton and reggae are popular throughout the country.

Education

Education is free for all Nicaraguans. [5] Elementary education is free and compulsory, however, many children in rural areas are unable to attend due to lack of schools and other reasons. Communities located on the Caribbean coast have access to education in their native languages. The majority of higher education institutions are located in Managua, higher education has financial, organic and administrative autonomy, according to the law. Also, freedom of subjects is recognized. [6]

Nicaragua's higher education consists of 48 universities and 113 colleges and technical institutes which serve student in the areas of electronics, computer systems and sciences, agroforestry, construction and trade-related services. [7] The educational system includes 1 U.S. accredited English-language university, 3 Bilingual university programs, 5 Bilingual secondary schools and dozens of English Language Institutes. In 2005, almost 400,000 (7%) of Nicaraguans held a university degree. [8] 18% of Nicaragua's total budget is invested in primary, secondary and higher education. University level institutions account for 6% of 18%.

When the Sandinistas came to power in 1979, they inherited an educational system that was one of the poorest in Latin America. [9] Under the Somozas, limited spending on education and generalized poverty, which forced many adolescents into the labor market, constricted educational opportunities for Nicaraguans. A 1980 literacy campaign, using secondary school students, university students as well as teachers as volunteer teachers, reduced the overall illiteracy rate from 50.3% to 12.9% within only five months. [10] The key large scale programs of the Sandinistas included a massive National Literacy Crusade (March–August, 1980), social program, which received international recognition for their gains in literacy, health care, education, childcare, unions, and land reform. [11] [12] In September 1980, UNESCO awarded Nicaragua with the "Nadezhda K. Krupskaya" award for their successful literacy campaign. This was followed by the literacy campaigns of 1982, 1986, 1987, 1995 and 2000, all of which were also awarded by UNESCO. [13]

Literature

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. Nicaraguan literature has historically been an important source of poetry in the Spanish-speaking world, with internationally renowned contributors such as Rubén Darío who is regarded as the most important literary figure in Nicaragua, referred to as the "Father of Modernism" for leading the modernismo literary movement at the end of the 19th century. [14]

Other literary figures include Ernesto Cardenal, Gioconda Belli, Claribel Alegría and José Coronel Urtecho, Alberto Cuadra Mejia, Carlos Martinez Rivas, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, Manolo Cuadra, Pablo Alberto Cuadra Arguello, Sergio Ramirez among others.

El Güegüense

El Güegüense is a satirical drama and was the first literary work of the pre-Columbian Nicaragua. It is regarded as one of Latin America's most distinctive colonial-era expressions and as Nicaragua's signature folkloric masterpiece combining music, dance and theater. [15] 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 theatrical/dance works of the Western Hemisphere. [16] It was passed down orally for many centuries until it was finally written down and published into a book in 1942. [17]

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. [18] The first proclaimed masterpiece was the "Oral traditions and expressions" of the Garifuna. [19]

Legends

Nicaraguans legends are similar to those found in other Latin American countries. Some popular legends include:

See also

General:

Related Research Articles

Nicaragua Country in Central America

Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Nicaragua, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

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The Island Carib, also known as the Kalinago or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people of the Greater and Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. They have descended from the Mainland Caribs (Kalina) of South America as well as the Arawakan people of the Greater Antilles. The women and children spoke an Arawakan language known as Eyeri. Meanwhile the men spoke a carib pidgin language of Karina origins.

Music of Nicaragua is a mixture of indigenous and European, especially Spanish, influences. Musical instruments include the marimba and others that are common across Central America. Pop music includes Cuban, Brazilian, Mexican and Panamanian performers, as well as those from Europe and the United States.

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Nicaraguans People of Nicaragua

Nicaraguans are people inhabiting in, originating or having significant heritage from Nicaragua. Most Nicaraguans live in Nicaragua, although there is also a significant Nicaraguan diaspora, particularly in Costa Rica and the United States with smaller communities in other countries around the world. There are also people living in Nicaragua who are not Nicaraguans because they were not born or raised in Nicaragua nor have they gained citizenship.

Mískito Coast Creole or Nicaragua Creole English is a English-based creole language spoken in coastal Nicaraguan region of Mosquito Coast on the Caribbean Sea; its approximately 30,000 speakers are spread over a number of small villages. The region is today administratively separated into two autonomous regions: North Caribbean Coast and South Caribbean Coast. Mosquito is the nickname that is given to the region and earlier residents by early Europeans who visited and settled in the area. The term "Miskito" is now more commonly used to refer to both the people and the language.

Latin American culture is the formal or informal expression of the people of Latin America and includes both high culture and popular culture as well as religion and other customary practices.

El Güegüense

El Güegüense is a satirical drama and was the first literary work of post-Columbian Nicaragua. It is regarded as one of Latin America's most distinctive colonial-era expressions and as Nicaragua's signature folkloric masterpiece combining music, dance and theater. There was also a monument built in the center of a rotonda (roundabout) in Managua, in its honor. El Güegüense is performed during the feast of San Sebastián in Diriamba from January 17 to the 27th

Nicaraguan literature 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 Salomón de la Selva, Carlos Martínez Rivas, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, Alberto Cuadra Mejia, Manolo Cuadra Vega, Pablo Alberto Cuadra Arguello, Ernesto Cardenal, Sergio Ramírez Mercado, Gioconda Belli, José Coronel Urtecho, Alfonso Cortés, Julio Valle Castillo, and Claribel Alegría, among others.

The official language of Nicaragua is Spanish; however, Nicaraguans on the Caribbean coast speak indigenous languages and also English. The communities located on the Caribbean coast also have access to education in their native languages. Additionally, Nicaragua has four extinct indigenous languages.

Hondurans people from Honduras or of Honduran descent

Hondurans are people inhabiting in, originating from, or having significant heritage from Honduras. Most Hondurans live in Honduras, although there is also a significant Honduran diaspora, particularly in the United States, with smaller communities in other countries around the world. There are also people living in Honduras who are not Hondurans, because they were not born or raised in Honduras, nor have they yet gained citizenship.

Nicaraguan Spanish variety of Central American Spanish spoken in Nicaragua

Nicaraguan Spanish is geographically defined as the form of Spanish spoken in Nicaragua. Affectionately, Nicaraguan Spanish is often called Nicañol.

The Western Caribbean Zone is a region consisting of the Caribbean coasts of Central America, from Yucatán in Mexico to northern Colombia, and also the islands west of Jamaica. The zone emerged in the late sixteenth century as the Spanish failed to completely conquer many sections of the coast, and northern European powers supported opposition to Spain, sometimes through alliances with local powers.

Afro-Nicaraguan Nicaraguans of African descent

Afro-Nicaraguans are Nicaraguans of African descent in Nicaragua. They make up 9% of the population and they're the largest group of African descent in in Central America. Numbering almost 600,000, according to the CIA factbook (2011), they primarily live on the southeastern coast, the Mosquito Coast, Bluefields and Managua. The 1990 Nicaraguan national census recorded 25,000 or 1% of the population. Creoles are from the Anglo-Caribbean and speak a dialect of Jamaican patois known as Miskito Coast Creole. Nicaragua also has a Garifuna population.

Afro-Hondurans or Black Hondurans, are Hondurans of African descent. They descended from Africans, who were enslaved and identified as Garifunas and Creole peoples. The Creole people were originally from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands and arrived in Honduras between the nineteenth and early twentieth century to work on the export of bananas and in construction.


Settlement of English people along the Caribbean Coast, or Miskito Coast, of Nicaragua began in 1633. The area was controlled by Britain until 1860, and eventually integrated into Nicaragua by 1894. The Miskito Coast region divided into two autonomous regions within Nicaragua after 1987.

This is a compilation of traditional dances from Nicaragua

References

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  2. 1 2 "Languages of Nicaragua". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
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  4. 1 2 3 Dennis, Gilbert. "Nicaragua: Religion". Country Studies. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  5. Liu, Dan (2006-12-06). "Nicaragua's new gov't to enforce free education". CHINA VIEW. Archived from the original on 2006-12-28. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  6. "Nicaragua Education" . Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  7. "Human Capital: Educationand Training". ProNicaragua. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  8. "Central American Countries of the Future 2005/2006". 2005-08-01. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
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  10. Hanemann, Ulrike. "Nicaragua's Literacy Campaign". UNESCO. Archived from the original (DOC) on 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
  11. "Historical Background of Nicaragua". Stanford University. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  12. "Nicaragua Pre-election Delegation Report". Global Exchange. Archived from the original on 2006-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  13. B. Arrien, Juan. "Literacy in Nicaragua" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  14. "Showcasing Nicaragua's Folkloric Masterpiece - El Gueguense - and Other Performing and Visual Arts". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
  15. "Nicaragua facts, information, pictures - Encyclopedia.com articles about Nicaragua". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  16. "Event Calendar - National Museum of the American Indian". si.edu. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  17. "El Güegüense". www.vianica.com. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  18. "List of masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity". unesco.org. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  19. "List of masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity". unesco.org. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  20. "Folklore in Nicaragua - By Nicaragua Channel". www.nicaragua.com. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  21. Sánchez Ricarte, Noelia (2007-03-14). "Tola con brújula para el turismo" (in Spanish). La Prensa. Retrieved 2007-07-13.