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Leon celebrates the Gritería Chiquita | Aug 9, 2007

This Tuesday, the 14th of August, in the city of León they celebrate, such as every year, the already traditional “Gritería Chiquita”, event with a religious context (catholic), when thousand of people go on the streets to sing for the virgin Maria at the hundreds of altars in different houses of the city, and they get for change sweets, fruits and other small presents.

This tradition was born on the 14th of August in 1947, when because of the advise of the bishop of Leon, Isidro Oviedo Reyes, the citizens decided to organize a “Gritería de Penitencia” as a thanks to the virgin Maria, in these times they considered the mollification of the volcano Cerro Negro as an miracle of Maria, which for various days kept the population in an alarm due to the upcoming eruption and the ashes of the volcano.

The celbration started to be repeated every year at the same day, and as time went by it turned in to a local replica of the “La Gritería”, wich is celbrated nationwide on the 7th of December, and the people started to give away sweets, fruits, sugar cane, small toys, drinks, and more. Before, at the “Gritería de Penitencia”, they gave only medals, stamps and pictures of the virgin.

During both “Griterías” many families pray to the virgin for eight days before the celebration. On the ninth day they put an altar in their houses and at six pm thousands of people wander through the streets and going to houses where they sing in front of the altars. The house owners give the presents to the singers, until they are finished. This day (7th of December nationwide or 14th of August in Leon) there are a lot of fireworks at six and midnight.

This celebration is only hold in Leon, except for families from Leon living in other cities, another difference is that the answer to “Quién causa alegría” is “La asunción de María”, instead of “La concepción de María”. Many altars are decorated with images of the volcano Cerro Negro.

If you have the chance, visit the city of Leon on the 14th of August and observe or participate in this noisy and massive traditional celebration, which starts alter the scream of the bishop at the Cathedral of Leon, at six pm.

To get to know more about the “La Gritería”, see our special on Diciembre en Nicaragua.