Major annual festival of San Sebastian in Diriamba and Jinotepe
January 20 is the feast day of St. Sebastian. This feast is a focal point in Nicaragua with its connection to colonial and pre-colonial rituals. Many of the dances, songs, and costumes are true to the traditions that predate the arrival of the Spanish. The day before the feast, on January 19, a holy mass is celebrated in the church of Diriamba. Right after the mass the image of St. Sebastian leaves the Basilica of Diriamba to go to the town of Dolores to meet his friends, Saint Mark of San Marcos and Santiago of Jinotepe. This encounter is known as "El Tope". The saints are escorted by their people, the dancers and mounted parade horses. Following the reunion, the three saints continue the procession among thousands of revelers until they enter the Basilica of Diriamba. More dancing, and general revelry follows throughout the 19th and 20th. Some of the dances reflect the characters and spirit of the Nicaraguan folk drama “El Güegüense”.