Quién causa tanta alegría?
La Asunción de María!
Que viva La Virgen!
Yesterday was the Gritería Chiquita in León (as opposed to the big Gritería, on December 7th). Basically, it is Halloween, but in León.
The story goes that 67 years ago Cerro Negro was going to blow its top and take León and Chinandega with it. But being the anniversary of the day that the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven, she somehow came back and saved the cities from destruction. So now to celebrate, Catholic families make altars to the Virgin in their homes, and people come around shouting, “Quién causa tanta alegría?” and receive candy or household goods in return.
There were tons of people in the city and on the streets. They bus poor people in from all over Nicaragua because houses give out useful items. Most house gave out soup packets, drink mixes, ketchup, pens, and matches, in addition to little sucking candies.
My family took the day very seriously. They hired an extra housekeeper just for the day. My host mother’s daughter came in from her home in Estelí for a long weekend with two toddlers in tow. There was a flurry of activity in the house all day. Everyone took the day off from work (all of my classes were cancelled) and spent the day cooking, cleaning, and preparing the altar to the Virgin Mary.
Everything starts at 6:00 at the Cathedral. The Archbishop says the Gritería then there are fireworks and everyone takes to the streets. People were lined up for hours on one street waiting for the government tents to open. Here’s some more pictures from the night:
No one wears costumes, but it is very similar to trick-or-treating. Adults are just as active participants as the kids. And they get aggressive. I saw people drinking out of paper bags, and people push and shove to get to front doors. Unfortunately, my friend had his smart phone stolen as well. It was still a fun night, and apparently we get to do it all over again in December for the bigger Gritería celebrating the conception of Maria.