Halloween in Nicaragua – El Aguizote in Masaya

While Halloween is not a part of the Nicaraguan culture, there is another tradition that involves scary, creepy creatures along with myths and ghosts.  The last Friday of October characters take part of an indigenous tradition that reflects the imagination, beliefs and history of the people.

Simply called ¨Agüizotes¨ this is a Nicaraguan celebration held annually as a tradition of the inhabitants of the city of Masaya since the mid-twentieth century.  Through Agüizotes, myths, terror, witchcraft, horror and ghosts come to life through a variety of costumes representing characters from Nicaraguan legends and folk mythology.

The evening entails a solemn parade intended to frighten the spirits, especially the souls.  Children, youth and elders are inspired to dress in costumes bearing gloomy skulls, horrible figures and even the devil to demonstrate candles to scare the bird singing Güis, an ancestral symbol of death.  The costumes are made from any material or combination of materials including cloth, cardboard, cob (husks from corn), agave (sisal fiber) and there are also those who use bones and skulls of dead animals, such as bull horns.

Agüizotes is also drawn to the belief of some superstitious people. If a hen sings at night or a black butterfly enters the house is believed that someone will die.

The parade marches through the city streets with shouts and music of marimbas, trumpets and drums; marching bands and mariachis that give life to a carnival atmosphere with the light of hundreds of candles and oil lamps.
Kind of scary, right?  Happy Halloween and Aquizotes.

The Casa Granada Team