December is a colorful month for the Nicaraguan people, it’s a season of sweets, songs, and religious celebrations.
All over the country devoted catholic families will celebrate the Purisima or Gritería as it is known commonly. The Gritería is a religious festivity that takes place on the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary; where dozens of catholic families install in front of their household altars in honor of the mother of Christ, while others visit to pray and sing traditional songs, receiving in return traditional sweets and goods that is known commonly as “Gorras”.
One of the most iconic traditions of this celebration is the famous yell “¿Quién causa tanta alegría”? (who causes so much joy) from those who visit and where the host of the altar will reply “¡La Concepción de María!” (the conception of Mary). It’s common to say this while visiting different homes and churches during the Purísima, after which you would receive some traditional sweets or drinks like the “chicha”, which is made out of corn.
La Purisima starts at 6:00 p.m. at all catholic cathedrals and churches, where the bishop or priest would do the first yell of “¿Quién causa tanta alegría?” followed by the response “¡La Concepción de María!” by the congregation or public in general.
The Gritería started out in León, the first capital of the country, in the year 1857 at the San Felipe church by the Franciscan Friars congregations, who used to share sweets after each prayer to the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
In present-day the Gritería is celebrated all over Nicaragua, not only by Catholics devoted but also by those who consider it to be part of a national tradition.