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Corn Island celebrates its "Fiesta del Cangrejo" | Aug 26, 2008

The traditional "Fiesta del Cangrejo" (Party of the Crab) will be celebrated on Corn Island on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 of August. The celebrations, which commemorate the abolition of slavery on the island in the mid-nineteenth century, consist of activities such as a coach parade, the election of a queen, traditional dances, and other cultural activities. There will also be an abundance of local food, bestowed upon all participants by the native inhabitants of the island.

Mayra Downs, of the municipality and also organizer of the celebrations this year (2008), explained that the festivities will take place between early Wednesday morning and Thursday night. As she explained in an interview with, the traditions will start on the 27th with a 'diana' - a traditional morning procession - which will tour the island, starting at 5 AM. At 7 AM, the parade of the coaches will commence, in which all neighborhoods decorate a cart with designs of historical or cultural allegories, and which will lead to the candidates of Miss Corn Island.

The parade leaves from the old airport terminal and will tour the island to finish at the community of South End, where the activities during the rest of the party will be concentrated. Here, several cultural demonstrations will be held, with the help of many visiting and local participants. During the night, there will generally be bonfires and parties in the bars and clubs, as explained by Mayra.

The activity will continue until 4 PM on Thursday 28, when the closing event will take place: the election of Miss Corn Island and Miss Coco, the runner-up. All neighborhoods will present an aspect of their local culture, and a party will close the event. The two special guests who will liven up the event are the winner of the Fiestas de Mayo, in Bluefields, and a delegation of students from the island who are studying at the Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU).

As mentioned before, the party celebrates the arrival of the decree abolishing slavery on August 27, 1841. The decree was issued by Queen Victoria of England, and by King Roberto Carlos Federico of the Mosquitia (extinct indigenous kingdom allied to the British crown that extended between the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras). According to the historic narration transmitted by the islanders, the crab was the most important food the new free citizens had access to. The day was therefore celebrated with great quantities of soup and other food made of crabs, hence the name of the celebrations.