If you're visiting the country of Nicaragua, then you'll want to get the most out of Nicaraguan culture. One of the most diverse and interesting countries in Central America, Nicaragua offers a wealth of things to learn and experience based on the accumulated tastes, history and habits of centuries of growth and change for the inhabitants.
In fact, most foreign visitors would probably be surprised by the wide diversity of languages, dress and celebrations that mark this truly unique nation and people.
A Hybrid Culture
One of the most interesting things about culture in Nicaragua is how the legacy of colonialism has left them with a distinct identity that is neither wholly native nor wholly Spanish or English. In fact, most Nicaraguans identify first with their specific location within the country, and don't give much credence to their roots at all except as an expression of Nicaraguan history and development.
One thing to really understand is that the western side of the country was primarily colonized by the Spanish while the eastern side was mostly English settlements, so you end up with a nation that still shows a lot of the influence from both countries and has integrated that influence into the pre-existing customs and beliefs. That's why, for example, you'll see a more heavily Catholic population in the west and Protestant in the east, but both will integrate the importance of saints into their common forms of worship as a nod to previous spirit-based or polytheistic practices.
Trade also had a powerful impact on the direction of Nicaraguan customs, introducing new ideas and beliefs from places as far away as East Asia in some cases, though more often from western Africa and the Caribbean where slaves were brought in and contributed their customs into what would become reflective of modern Nicaragua.
Valuing the Arts
One of the most common things about the culture of Nicaragua is the high value placed on the arts, learning and individual expression. This is a tradition that goes back long before the arrival of the Spanish or the English. Several plays and performed works created by Central American natives are still staged to this day from Managua to the most remote villages.
The Nicaraguan reverence for the written word cannot be overstated, and that's why they are renowned for producing some of the most well written works in the Spanish language. In fact, the Modernismo movement in literature was founded by Nicaraguan author Ruben Dario in the late 19th century and blended a number of European styles into a distinctly Central American art form.
They are also well known for their painting and sculpture, most of which draws influence from or is still a form of folk art. The techniques and styles have remained unchanged for centuries and are not only beautiful, but can also be powerful and stirring.
These are just some of the wonderful things that you may encounter on your visit to Nicaragua. Stay on the lookout and you might find a new love for a culture that has grown distinct and versatile while maintaining its history.