La Purisima

Purisima altar in 2009celebration similar to La Griteria is La Purisima,  a separate celebration to the Virgin Mary.

During colonial times, the Spanish brought their catholic religion to Nicaragua. Every December, La Purisima is celebrated and is one of the most widespread celebrations. A very decorated and colorful altar is placed in a corner of the family home with a statue of the Virgin Mary. There are chairs arranged in front of the altar that will soon have tons of family members, friends and neighbors that were invited to celebrate La Purisima. Once everyone arrives, the celebration starts with prayers to the virgin that also alternate to the traditional songs sung to her. While singing to the virgin, lots of tambourines, whistles, rattles, and other instruments accompany the song. While the singing and prayers are happening, the hosts of the Purisima distribute fruits, toys, candy, traditional Nicaraguan drinks and other gifts to the guests.

La Purisima is celebrated in all parts of Nicaragua by thousands of families that take place at the end of November through most of December. If you’re in my family, it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is. Every time we go to Nicaragua whether it be in July or October, my family hosts a purisima for the neighborhood and give out school supplies, food, and drinks to the needy children.

Purisimas are hosted to show gratitude for the miracles that a person attributes to the Virgin Mary. Like I said before, experienced a Purisima is really different than just talking about it. It’s loud, it’s fun, and everyone participates in the singing, dancing and hitting the tambourines on the sides of their legs. It’s a great celebration that really brings the family together. My grandma is a very firm believer in always celebrating La Purisima and makes her own altar for the Virgin Mary every single year.

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