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Celebration of Fiestas Patronales in Managua | Aug 4, 2006

Just like any other year, the inhabitants of the city of Managua celebrated the beginning of the Fiestas Patronales on August 1st. These celebrations are dedicated to a patron saint, in the case of Managua to saint Santo Domingo de Guzmán. These celebrations include passionate, traditional processions like the so-called "Bajada del Santo", a horse parade, and a cart parade. These same events will be repeated next Thursday, August 10th, when the festivities will come to an end.

This popular celebration can be divided into two acts: one is the procession of the Santo Domingo de Guzmán taking place between the Sierritas de Santo Domingo and the Santo Domingo Church, at the old center of the city, and the other act is related to the parades, taking place between the pier of Managua and the area around the Metrocentro Shopping Mall.

The celebrations

The traditional procession of the saint is a very colorful happening, which is combined with the religious enthusiasm and happiness common to Nicaraguans during these events. On the morning of the first of August the "Bajada del Santo" takes place. This involves taking the old statue of Santo Domingo from the church in Las Sierritas to the church located less than one kilometer from the old center of the city. Here it stays until the morning of the tenth, when the "Subida del Santo" takes place, during which the statue is brought back.

Thousands of religious people attend this event (to thank the saint for miracles), dancing on the beat of musical bands and some of them dressed in typical costume, with Indian masks or with a painted body. A lot of alcohol is also consumed during these festivities.

The also already traditional equine and cart parades (not as old as the procession of the saint) takes place at the same location on both the first and tenth of August: leaving at the pier of Managua, heading to the Tiscapa Lagoon and then moving westward in the direction of the Güegüense Rotunda, before southward heading towards the final destination close to the El Periodista Rotunda.

These celebrations take place in the afternoon, and it is also a very crowded happening. Horse breeders and owners parade with their best horses during the horse parade. The cart parade features traditionally decorated carts, sponsored by companies or institutions. Thousands of people watch the parade somewhere along the route.