What is life like in Nicaragua? What is different there than in Germany? In any case, it’s warm! And not just in summer, but all year round. There are no seasons, just a dry and a rainy season. So you don’t need winter jackets or thick boots here!
Rice and beans for breakfast
For breakfast there is rice and beans first! So strengthened Joaquín, Miguel, Valeria and Antonia go to school. Their surnames could be López, Martínez, García, González or Hernández, because these are the most common surnames in Nicaragua. By the way, Nicaraguans usually refer to themselves as Nica, sometimes also as Pinolero, because Pinolillo is such a popular drink.
Shopping and driving
For shopping you go to the market, to a street stall or to one of the small shops, a pulpería. You pay with Cordobas. If you want to get from one place to another, take the Chicken Bus. These are mostly decommissioned school buses from the USA. There have been no railway lines since 2001.
Sports in Nicaragua
Baseball and boxing are the most popular sports in Nicaragua. Children also like to play soccer. Surfing and sandboarding are more popular with tourists. The Cerro Negro volcano is particularly suitable for this. Speaking of which: there are so many volcanoes here in the west of the country that they too are part of everyday life. Sometimes it smells sulphurous and a volcanic eruption can always happen, just like an earthquake.
Power failure – also everyday life in Nicaragua
Cyclones can destroy a lot. Floods are common between May and November. This is also part of everyday life in Nicaragua. What Nicaraguans also have to live with are frequent power outages. Then you just can’t cook or listen to the radio … Even water doesn’t always flow.
A piñata for the festival!
There is a piñata for special celebrations. This is a colorful paper mache figure that is hung or held high. It’s filled with candy. Blindfolded, the children hit the piñata one by one with a stick until it rains candy.
By the way, girls mostly wear skirts or dresses and trousers much less often than ours. They often wear their hair braided, in a ponytail or with lots of small braids.
Eating in Nicaragua
What do you eat in Nicaragua?
Spanish, Caribbean and indigenous influences make up today’s cuisine in Nicaragua. As in pre-Columbian times (i.e. before the 15th century), maize and beans are among the staple foods. Manioc and plantains are also popular as ingredients. On the Pacific coast there is also a lot of fruit, on the Caribbean coast people cook a lot with fish and other marine animals as well as with coconuts and their products such as coconut milk and desiccated coconut.
Gallo pinto is the national dish. Translated, this means “spotted rooster”. It consists of red beans and rice that are mixed together – this is what the whole thing looks like “speckled”. Chicken is not included! And the spotted rooster is mainly eaten for breakfast! The rice that was cooked the day before and the beans that are also ready are fried in a pan and seasoned with a sauce called Salsa Inglesa (known to us as Worcestershire sauce). There are also corn tortillas, scrambled eggs or ripe, fried plantains. You can find a recipe for Gallo pinto in the participation tip from Costa Rica, where people like to eat the dish.
On the Caribbean coast, rice is cooked with coconut milk. Rice is also widely used, for example in Valencian style rice (Arroz a la valenciana). It’s rice with chicken, chorizo sausage, tomatoes and onions.
The nacatamales are particularly popular. They are happy to eat them on Sundays and at special festivals as well as at Christmas. And what are nacatamales? You need corn dough (masa) and a banana leaf for this. In the middle of the leaf (which is quite large) you put corn dough and other fillings such as rice, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, peppers and meat. Then you shape the whole thing like a pillow and tie it. These pillows are then steamed over a water bath for several hours until everything is cooked. The difference to the tamales in Mexico is that the nacatamales are much larger.
Vigorón and Vaho
Another typical national dish is vigorón. It consists of curtido (a salad made from cabbage and carrots), boiled cassava and chicharrónes (pork, for example fried pork rind). At street stalls, the whole thing is usually served on a banana leaf. Vaho is similar: Meat, plantains and manioc are steamed in the banana leaf here, with Curtido on top.
A typical drink in Nicaragua is the pinolillo. It is made from corn flour (from roasted corn) and a little cocoa with water or milk. There is also cinnamon. Mostly it is drunk sweetened. It’s rough and grainy. It is traditionally drunk from the fruit peel of the Morro tree (or called Jicaro fruit, see also El Salvador). This vessel is called Jícara or Cumbo. Without the addition of cocoa, the powder is called pinol and is used as a spice for certain dishes. By the way, Nicaraguans like to call themselves pinoleros after their favorite drink.
Another common drink is chicha. It is made from corn in Nicaragua and served ice-cold. It is often sold with a banana or vanilla flavor. The corn is soaked overnight, then mashed and boiled in water. Red food coloring gives the chicha its color. Once cooled, add sugar and more water.
Fruit and vegetables
In addition to fruits known to us such as mangoes, papayas and bananas, people in Nicaragua also like to eat jocotes, which are called red mombin plums in German, the fruits of the cucumber tree (mimbro) and tamarind.
People also like sweets for dessert in Nicaragua, a country located in Caribbean and Central America listed on militarynous. Then there is Dulce de Leche (“Sweet things made from milk”) or the Pastel de Tres Leches (“Three times milk”) cake.
Christmas in Nicaragua
Christmas is also celebrated in Nicaragua, because the majority of the population are Christians. The Christmas trees are already set up on December 1st – mostly they are made of plastic – and you can hear Christmas carols everywhere. Many families also set up a crib. And all of this takes place at 30 degrees in the shade! Joy and exuberance instead of contemplation determine the time. Fireworks are a part of Christmas as we do to New Year’s Eve. By the way, we don’t know Advent calendars and Advent wreaths.
Santa Claus is also unknown and does not bring anything on December 6th…. For this, the Gritería is celebrated on December 7th, a Catholic festival in honor of the Virgin Mary. An altar with flowers and a statue of Mary will be erected in front of the houses. The people then go from house to house and shout ” Quien causa tanta la alegría? ” (Who is causing all the joy?), Whereupon the residents shout: ” La concepción de María! ” (The conception of Mary). The house residents give the arriving sweets or fruit.
Christmas Eve in Nicaragua
Christmas Eve is a family festival. You eat together, and in most families it is outside and at midnight. If there are gifts, because that is not the norm everywhere, they are only given at midnight! Then you wish Feliz Navidad – Merry Christmas! Younger children are allowed to sleep beforehand and are then woken up again. The feast usually consists of nacatamales and a chicken stuffed with carrots, potatoes and green beans. For dessert there is Pio Quinto, at least for the adults, because this cake is soaked with rum.