Because of the strong influence of the Roman Catholic church, many Nicaraguan holidays are Catholic holy days. Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a very important Nicaraguan holiday, and most people have a week's holiday. Christmas Eve is also an important holiday.

 Nicaraguans observe a special holiday on December 7 and 8 called La Purísima, which celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Each family builds an altar inside the entrance to the house. The door is left open so that the altar is visible from the street, and guests are invited to come and worship at the altar. Guests are also given special Purísima gifts, such as sweets made from sugar cane or useful but inexpensive consumer goods. A large celebration takes place in León, attended by Catholics from all over Central America. After an evening mass on December 7, the León Cathedral bells ring, and people set off fireworks. Street performers entertain and the partying often goes on all night.

Many towns and cities have patron saints and hold an annual celebration for the saint. The saint's statue is carried through the streets in procession. The celebrations may also include mock battles making fun of the original Spanish conquerors or processions of people in masks and giant puppets (called Las Gigantonas), which entertain with music and comedy. These patronal festivals, often called Toro Guaco, are particularly famous in the Carazo area south of Managua and in León. León celebrates its patron saint, San Jerónimo (St. Jerome) on September 30. The town of Diriamba honours St. Sebastian on January 20 and Jinotepe celebrates Santiago (St. James) on July 20.

 Nicaragua's Independence Day commemorates Central America's independence from Spain, which was declared in 1821. Liberation Day on July 19 acknowledges the 1979 uprising, when Nicaraguans rebelled against the dictator, Anastasio Somoza. This day is no longer an official holiday, but many people still celebrate it.

  Did you know?
A ceremony known as La Novena is observed in the nine days before La Purísima. Many people make religious pilgrimages to the basilica at the city of El Viejo. A unique ceremony called "the washing of the plates" takes place on December 6, when a high church official washes sacred silver church objects with lemon juice.
January 1 New Year’s Day
March or April  Holy Week (before Easter)
May 1 Labour Day
September 14 Battle of San Jacinto Day
September 15 Independence Day
November 2 All Souls' Day
December 8 Immaculate Conception
December 25 Christmas