West Miami-Dade

Nicaraguan religious, cultural event La Griteria to be celebrated Saturday

Nicaraguans will take to the streets to pay homage to the patroness of their native country, the Immaculate Conception Virgin Mary.

La Griteria, a Catholic religious and cultural event celebrated in the Central American country, will be observed in several areas around South Florida including Kendall, Little Havana, Hialeah and Sweetwater.

One of the largest celebrations will take place on West Flagler Street at Southwest 107th Avenue in Sweetwater from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday. The event is free.

The event is organized by the nonprofit Community Performing Arts Association.

The organization’s president, Hector Gutierrez, says this event brings the community together and it is not just for Nicaraguans.

“This is a multicultural event for the community,” he said. “It serves well for the children because they will learn about our traditions.”

It is the third year the organization has hosted the event in Sweetwater, but the tradition has been celebrated for more than 30 years in the city.

La Griteria, which roughly translates to “the yelling,” is a Catholic holiday in Nicaragua. It is a boisterous celebration where Nicaraguan religious followers pray and sing traditional songs before an altar with an image of Virgin Mary, who is also the patroness of the United States.

The tradition started Dec. 7, 1857, in Leon, Nicaragua, when a priest wanted to bring joy to his country after it had endured a national war.

The altar could be placed anywhere — from a corner of a family house to a big stage. It is celebrated every Dec. 7.

While the faithful sing and pray, those who set up the altars offer drinks, candy, traditional items and food like vigoron, a dish that includes yucca, cabbage salad, tomatoes and chicharrones (fried pork with skin or with meat). It is a tradition passed on to generations.

Aside from the religious activities, there will also be traditional folklore dances and mariachis.

If you go

What: La Griteria, Nicaraguan religious and cultural celebration

When: 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Where: West Flagler Street at Southwest 107th Avenue.

Cost: Free.

For more information: 305-256-5775.