The Pilgrimage to Popoyuapa

Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another man comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage.~Frederick Buechner


Two weeks before Holy Week in Nicaragua, rural ox-pulled carts travel to Nandaime, where they gather for their annual pilgrimage to the Popoyuapa sanctuary, in San Jorge, Rivas.

They travel slowly inspired by religious devotion to Nuestro Señor del Rescate de Popoyuapa, whom they acknowledge for previous miracles that happened in their lives.
A disabled elderly woman traveled this year for three days in a bed aboard a wagon.
Jarquín Carla gives thanks for his daughter Massiel Lopez Jarquín, who was miraculously healed of cancer 15 years ago.All the participants said that the pilgrimage is, and was, one of the deepest and most important religious experiences of the Nicaragua tradition.

carretas-peregrinasThe ox-carts are loaded with necessities such as food, water, cooking utensils, hammocks and clothes. Dried palm leafs are tied together and formed into a roof that provides protection.

IMG_2089The carts are decorated with the traditional colors of this pilgrimage: yellow, which signifies the Catholic Church; purple, because of the upcoming Holy Week; and blue, because blue is the national color of Nicaragua. Even the family dogs join in the pilgrimage.

IMG_2092The long line of carts travels four days to reach its destination: the Popoyuapa sanctuary.  Here, an open-air mass is held upon arrival. The goal of the pilgrims is to show thankfulness and faith to the image of Nuestro Señor del Rescate de Popoyuapa.

saintThis tradition is said to be over 100 years old. Thousands of faithful Catholics accompany Nuestro Señor del Rescate de Popoyuapa to the open air arena where an ecclesiastical decree is read at the Shrine of Popoyuapa.

easterThe creativity of the Nicaraguan people combined with their devout faith summons them to their annual pilgrimage. It is a colorful sight to behold.

Thanks to Jairo and Oscar for two of the photos.



15 thoughts on “The Pilgrimage to Popoyuapa

  1. We were in Antigua, Guatemala last year for Santa Semana (absolutely amazing!) and so, we were on the lookout for celebrations here in Nicaragua when we happened upon this procession last week on our way to San Jorge (and Ometepe) from Granada. Traffic was halted on the highway and we watched the procession go by with fascination. What a lovely tradition! Anita

  2. I loved being in Central America for the weeks before Semana Santa. So incredibly beautiful! Great pictures. What is in store for the actual week there? Do they make alfombras like in Guatemala? Parades too?

  3. I remember seeing the faihful walking in their knees from the entrance of The Santo Domingo church in Managua, back in my childhood I didnt know the full significance of the penance they did, But I do now as a devout Catholic

    • Thanks, Kathy. It is an impressive sight, for sure. We’re in red alert here in Nicaragua. Many earthquakes and our active volcano in our backyard is awake or at least trying to wake up. Today we had a 6.6 earthquake on the mainland across the lake from our house. I’m still feeling a bit woozy from all the shaking.

I'd love to read your ideas and thoughts below....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.