Celebrating Christmas and New Year in Nicaragua begins about a week before Advent with the sound of firecrackers and the display of fireworks all day and through the night until the day after New Years.
Purisima, which is considered the day of Mary’s conception on December 8th, is celebrated by Catholics singing songs about Mary throughout the neighborhoods. After singing a song in a house that has a statue of Mary, they receive a gift. It is the most festive celebration of Mary that I have ever witnessed. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! However, this year was very different and you could feel it in the air.
Amid the political and social turmoil, which began in April 16, 2018, our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters are experiencing an emotional juxtaposition of Joy and Sadness. During this Christmas season, some are celebrating joyfully with family and friends. Some are dealing with broken hearts as they try to reconcile the unexpected absence of their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and neighbors that were unjustly murdered in the streets of Nicaragua as they participated in a peaceful protest for political, social and economic justice. Merry Christmas? Happy New Year?
A young adult from the Central Moravian Church in Managua tells of a posting she read in an article that relates to her feelings about Christmas 2018. The article said,
"I want to share the experience of how we are living and celebrating Christmas at this time. Yesterday we had our Christmas program at church and when we sang Silent Night, I could not participate. I felt pain, sadness and helplessness. My heart began to throb and on my mind was present Nicaragua…The pastor realized this and asked for a moment of silence for the suffering Nicaragua. He said a beautiful prayer at the end of the service.
I mourned with my Nicaraguan brothers as they felt like me. We hugged, we cried and we shared our sorrow for our country. I want [those that are missing] to know that we love them and we have them on our minds.
Minute by minute we are following the news through social networks and I am sure that when this nightmare ends, most of us Nicaraguans will need psychological therapy to overcome the depression and pain that today invades us.
Finally I want from the bottom of my heart to wish you a blessed Christmas, not a happy Christmas because we are not happy. This is a different Christmas [and] that is why we must celebrate it in a different way, praying to God that in hearts that are full of hatred, evil and selfishness our Lord Jesus is born so that La Paz [The Peace] can return to our country….[Author unknown]
Please remember our Nicaraguan sisters and brothers in your prays as they take a stand for justice, equality and peace throughout 2019."
Rev. Jeanette Salley
Co-mission worker in Nicaragua
Jeanette Salley serves with the Moravian Church of Nicaragua. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.