Celebrations in El Salvador include events such as Holy Week, the Day of the Cross, the July Festivities, the August Festival, El Salvador’s Independence Day, All Souls Day, the National Pupusa Day, the San Miguel Carnival, and, of course, Christmas.

Holidays and traditions here typically combine religious events with unique indigenous and colonial customs. Jesus is pretty big around these parts, and there are many ways Salvadorans confirm and share their faith. The biggest among them is Holy Week.

Holy week in El Salvador (celebrated in the middle of April, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) is one of the most celebrated and significant cultural traditions in the country. Easter week in El Salvador is a time that Salvadorans use for prayer, reflection, and to express gratitude. It is also a time when many families schedule reunions to enjoy the celebrations together. Easter in El Salvador is celebrated similarly to other nations in Central America; churches all over El Salvador commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter week in El Salvador also incorporates the Roman Catholic tradition of the 40 days of Lent, or as it is more commonly known here, Cuaresma. The 40 days begins on the Monday before Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, before the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper. The lent period excludes Sundays.

Windows Iglesia de El Salvador - Santa Cruz de La Palma
Windows Iglesia de El Salvador – Santa Cruz de La Palma

Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus entering Jerusalem and being welcomed by the people there waving palm branches. During this Sunday, Christians take palm leaves to mass and bless them with holy water. They are then used to reverence the crucifix or decorate a statue, picture, or sacred object.

Holy Thursday (aka Maundy Thursday) is the remembrance of the institution of the Eucharist during the last supper of Jesus; when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion before his arrest and crucifixion.

Good Friday is the celebration of the passion of Christ; it is a somber day that commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus and culminates with the holy burial. In El Salvador, Good Friday is observed as a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting. It is common for most Salvadorans not to eat meat, only fish. A crucifix is prominently displayed in homes of Christians.

Good Friday Street Carpets are a sight to see, particularly in smaller towns. On this day, each town closes some streets and locals join together to make unique ‘street carpets’. These carpets are used during the procession of the holy burial or Procesión Del Santo Entierro. The colorful creations are made out of colored salt or sawdust, featuring a vast array of unique designs reminiscent of Buddhist mandalas. Making these carpets has become a source of communal pride for many municipalities like Sensuntepeque, which claims that one of their street carpets is the largest in El Salvador. Throughout the year, events and fundraisers are held for a street carpet that will last only one day.

City of Sensuntepeque street carpet
City of Sensuntepeque street carpet
City of Sensuntepeque street carpet
City of Sensuntepeque street carpet

Holy Saturday (aka Easter Vigil) celebrates the 40-hour-long vigil that Jesus Christ followers held after his death and burial on Good Friday and before his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday (aka Resurrection Sunday) is when Christians believe that God raised Jesus from the dead as a sign that he accepted his sacrifice for the redemption of mankind. Churches across El Salvador are decorated with the Easter Cross, a plain cross without a corpus draped in flowing white or gold materials.

During this week: everything is closed, tourist spots are packed, some streets are closed, alcohol may be prohibited, and public and private transportation may be limited.

 

 

Jeremy
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