¿Quién Causa Tanta Alegría?
¡La Concepción de María!
This call and response refrain called "La Gritería" is annually heard throughout Nicaragua on the evening of December 7 in advance of the sacred events on December 8 - the Immaculate Conception. La Purísima is a uniquely Nicaraguan celebration.
This year, three American sisters with long-lasting ties to Nicaragua brought a little bit of the celebration to Fond du Lac and made WhatsApp calls to their friends and sisters in Nicaragua.
Each year in Nicaragua, the sisters prepare beautiful and elaborate altars with statues of Mary, celebrating the conception of the Christ and the purity of Mary. Bags full of treats, including oranges, sweet lemons, caña (a piece of sugar cane stalk), and cajeta (a macaroon style bar baked with freshly grated coconut) are prepared for distribution. Special Nicaraguan treats - gofio and chicha - that are only made during La Purísima are created in the kitchen.
This year in Fond du Lac, the three sisters prepared bags of treats, created a small altar over the dining room fireplace, and translated traditional Nicaragua songs and prayers into English.
On the night of December 7, the streets of Nicaragua are filled with dancing and singing as celebrants move from house to house shouting their "Gritería" call-and-response. The "carolers" sing loudly and, upon arriving at each home, shout "¿Quién Causa Tanta Alegría?" ("What is the cause of so much happiness?") The family members in the house respond, "¡La Concepción de María!" (Mary's Conception!) and hand out the bags of treats.
In Fond du Lac, treat bags were distributed to retired sisters at Nazareth Court & Center, to the congregational leadership team, and to the residents of the motherhouse. While there was no wandering from house-to-house, the celebration in the dining room included prayers and traditional songs like Tu Gloria, Pues Concebida, and Dulces Himnos accompanied by a ukulele!
Today, December 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is celebrated with traditional Masses in both Nicaragua and the US.