Nicaragua celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
Nicaraguans have much in common with other nations in how they celebrate New Year’s Day, but they also have some rather unique traditions all their own.
Spending a lot of time with family and friends is a must. A family dinner served at midnight, setting off firecrackers, watching fireworks, giving old friends a big hug, and partying all night are all common enough.
But the real interesting part of the celebration is the creation of New Year’s dummies out of old clothes and other household items. These dummies are filled up with gun powder, hung out near the street, and then set afire at midnight. Burning political figures or other unpopular persons in effigy is customary.
In some parts of the country, there are also patron saint festivals this time of year to Saint Sylvester, whose feast day falls on 31 December. In these towns, an image of the saint will lead a parade through its streets, while loud music and exploding fireworks add to the excitement.