We had fun celebrating Christmas this year with our Nicaraguan family and friends, along with Cassie’s family who came to visit. We hope that you enjoy seeing how we celebrated the rich and beautiful traditions of Nicaragua.
During the month of December, we invited several of our students over for meals. We also received invitations to meals at their homes. This part of our work is the most enjoyable, doing life with our students, meeting and interacting with their families and sharing more about our lives with one another. On this occasion, our student’s Luis and Joel came over with their families for an Italian meal. Luis’s wife brought over buñuelos and they were to die for! We are planning to have a buñuelo making night soon!
We enjoyed heading to downtown Managua to celebrate La Purisima y La Griteria. All throughout December, the streets are filled with people, Nicaraguan food and manger scenes. There is a competition for the best built manger scene and we enjoyed checking these out on several occasions with friends and family.
Our neighbor friend, Fabiola made a thousand nacatamales to give away for La Griteria. We helped her out in the process and discovered that nacatamales can be decent to eat when they are made well. Fabiola generously gave these away to people in our neighborhood.
We enjoyed celebrating at our various workplaces. Above are photos from Cassie’s work celebration at Accion Medica Cristiana. They provided their workers with a delicious meal, along with music, words of encouragement for the New Year and a Secret Santa exchange. We also celebrated with our MCC team as well as the Seminary.
We had a special time celebrating with the Castillo family in Estelí. We headed up to Estelí the weekend before Christmas and enjoyed a dinner out as well as la Noche de Compras (the Night of Purchases) when all of the town is out buying their Christmas gifts. Stores are open until midnight and everyone is in high spirits. We even found Santa Claus!
Pictured above is a lunch date that we had with two of our students who are returning to the Atlantic Coast in January. They have completed their Bachelor’s Degrees and we are sad, but excited to see them go. After a lunch of roasted tomato soup and bread, which they seemed to enjoy, but we felt was way too hot for this December day, we played a game of Christmas themed memory. It was hilarious playing this game with sixty year olds, but everyone got into it and we played for a couple of hours!
On Christmas Eve we collaborated with some of our neighbor ladies and held a party for all of the neighborhood kids. We had about forty kids show up, along with several mom’s and grandma’s. The couple hours that we had together were chaotic, but so much fun. Thanks to Cassie’s family, we had stations that the kids rotated from as they played Bingo, colored Christmas pictures and completed other crafts. Afterwards we ate lunch together, read the Christmas story, hit down a piñata and gave out gifts. It was great morning!
Also on nochebuena or Christmas Eve we were invited to celebrate with the Ocampo family in El Crucero. I warned my mom ahead of time that Nicaraguan tradition is to eat the big Christmas meal at midnight. We enjoyed a freshly roasted pig along with other delicious sides, and brought some Christmas cookies to share. The night included a gift exchange, breakdance show, family dance time, lots of dangerous fireworks and sleepy eyes. We ended up leaving at 2am, about 6 hours past my mom’s bedtime. She found her way to the truck around midnight and slept out there until we were ready to go!
On Christmas Day, we laid low at our home. We were able to celebrate the day with our Lane Family Traditions. We tried out a Tomato Bisque Manhattan Seafood Soup for lunch after purchasing lobster, octopus and other fish from the local market. It was loved by some, but not by all. We will see if it becomes a tradition?
The only one that wasn’t super excited for the Christmas season was Brisa. Every time we had friends over to celebrate, we put on her reindeer antlers. And as you can see, she isn’t too impressed!