When travelling to a foreign destination, a quick way to get immersed in the culture is to participate in a local festival or a fiesta.
Festivals are a time when people open up their homes to guests, and visitors are able to sample local cuisine in abundance and witness local traditions.
In Honduras, a largely Roman Catholic country in Central America, many of these festivals are religious in nature. They are also grand, festive and well-attended by locals and visitors alike.
Here are some of Honduras’ most popular celebrations.
1. Feria de San Isidro. This festival is in honor of Saint Isidore, the patron saint of La Ceiba, a city in the north coast. It has been likened to New Orleans’ famous Mardi-Gras, and each year, thousands of Hondurans flock La Ceiba to join the week-long festivities. Each night, a little carnival or carnivalito is set up in the area, and on the final night, there is a grand parade of floats. This festival is also where the Milk Fair—a showcase of Hondurans’ farm products and animals—happens.
2. National Garifuna Festival. If you are visiting Honduras in July, make sure to be in town for this cultural celebration. As the name implies, it celebrates the Garifuna (those descended from African ancestors from the Caribbean Islands) culture. It is held in the town of Bajamar near Puerto Cortes. In addition to witnessing a showcase of ethnic Honduran cultures, this festival is also a venue for a lot of drinking and dancing.
3. Independence Day of Honduras. Honduras’ Independence Day is held on September 15. It commemorates the country’s independence from Spain after almost three centuries of colonization. During this day, schools are closed, and children participate in parades and other activities. The night before the Independence Day, there are fireworks to signal the celebration. The festivities start early in the morning with marching bands, and traditional Honduran foods such as beans, tamales, cassava with chicharron and tortillas are served.
4. Semana Santa. Also known as Holy Week or Easter Week, this religious festival is best experienced at the Honduran mountain town of Santa Rose de Copan near the Mayan Copan ruins where there are elaborate re-enactments of biblical events, and a procession on Good Friday.
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