Patron Saint Celebrations in Managua
The first day of August each year is celebrated with patron saint festivals in many, if not all, Nicaragua’s cities, towns and villages. Held in honor of Saint Dominic, Managua’s patron saint festivities are joyful, colorful occasions filled with cultural traditions and religious rituals which are enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors to the city. Some festival goers choose to support the more religious aspects of the festivities, while others are more enthusiastic about the party element of the event, and still others participate in a bit of both.
Managua’s patron saint festivities are centered on the procession of Saint Dominic during which the statuette of the saint, which usually resides in the Las Sierritas Parish Church, is carried from the church to the Santo Domingo Church in the center of Managua, where it remains for several days before being returned to its home in another procession. Thousands of people line the streets to watch the procession of Santo Domingo go by, while others may accompany the statuette on its journey. The statuette, referred to as Minguito, is placed in a glass case set in the center of a wooden pedestal decorated with colorful flowers and feathers which is carried in turn by various people who have been blessed by having their requests granted by the saint. The procession continues, come rain or shine, accompanied by lively music performed by local musicians, as well as participants dressed in costume as diablitos, vaquitas, negritos, and indios. The procession starts after 6am mass at Las Sierritas Church and continues into the late afternoon with the arrival at Santo Domingo Church.
Festival traditions continue on the 4th of August with Minguito being carried to various neighborhoods throughout the day. A vigil takes place at Santo Domingo Church on the 9th of August and the following day, after 6am mass, the statuette is carried back to Las Sierritas with singing, dancing and acts of devotion. The revered statuette of Santo Domingo will stay at Las Sierritas until Managua‘s next patron saint day festivities.