Celebrating our Culture
An encounter of two worlds
November 15, 2011 - Nicaragua
It was on the twelfth of October 1492 that Christopher Columbus arrived at the coast of an American island. This was the first encounter of two continents, and changed world views and lives of both Europeans and Americans. Over 500 years later the twelfth of October is celebrated throughout the continent of America, and is a moment to stop and think about the history and plural ethnical identity of the American nations. The interpretation of the meaning of the arrival of Columbus varies; in Nicaragua the twelfth of October marks the roots of its people, both indigenous and Spanish, but the celebration of the day is mainly focused on their indigenous ancestors.
At NPH Nicaragua this day was celebrated with the yearly Queen of Maize contest. Pequeñas from both primary and secondary school made all the necessary preparations and more in expectation of this special day. Their efforts were not in vain as the nine beautiful candidates presented themselves to the public which consisted of fellow pequeños and teachers. After the presentation of the candidates, and the question round, each of them showed off one of her talents, and the public enjoyed dance, theatre and a poem. Between the different rounds the NPH folklore group treated the public to some traditional dances. During the long awaited round of fantasy costumes, each of the candidates presented a costume made especially for this occasion which represented different aspects of indigenous culture, maize being part of every one of them, and cacao of some. The public was amazed and cheered on the candidates as they presented their costumes. Subsequently one of the teachers gave a small presentation about the significance of the twelfth of October. When he finished the jury had completed its difficult job of choosing two winners, one of the younger and one of the older girls. The event ended with the coronation of the new Queens of Maize by the winners of last year.
Nicaraguan culture is a result of the meeting of two continents, marked by the first steps of Columbus on American soil. Over 500 years later pequeños realize the importance of this event, and celebrate the culture of their indigenous ancestors.