El Salvador Culture and Traditions

Customs and traditions

Salvadorans often take pride in being hospitable and are happy to express pride in their country. Showing respect for other people is important. This is done, for example, by nailing, greeting politely and using titles. Younger people show respect for the elderly, and people with low status show respect for those with high status.

Although the customs and customs of indigenous peoples have ended up in the cloud, certain traditions, such as the healing arts, are still alive. The medicine man – e l curandero – gives advice and cures illnesses with the help of herbs, breweries and special rites. It is often an option for the poor who cannot afford to go to the doctor and pay for modern medicines. The belief in the evil eye is great and, for example, is considered to be a common cause of fever in young children. All children are given red clothes or small red bracelets to protect against the evil eye.

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of El Salvador, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.

Since the 1980s, many Salvadorans have migrated illegally to the United States and some have returned. Migration has contributed to an Americanization of Salvadoran society. Those who can afford dress American and buy American products. Among the upper class, many have studied abroad and can speak English.

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It is important to greet when you enter a store and when you meet people on the street in small villages, even if you do not know each other.

You are usually greeted by taking a light hand, but you can also nod slightly with your head. Women often greet each other by placing their hands on each other’s forearms, rather than shaking hands. Girlfriends who have not been seen for a long time often hug when they greet. Cheek kisses are also common.

It is important to look the one you are greeting in the eyes. Titles are used together with the last name to show respect and are especially important when greeting older people, or those with higher social status. Only first name is used only when greeting people you know.

In business meetings, Salvadorans are relatively formal and structured. The meetings are often initiated with important cold talk when building relationships. Often, the meeting continues over a meal, to which you are invited, without sharing the costs. It is considered unpleasant to say no. Decisions are normally made by the one with the highest rank.

Anyone who is home invited to anyone should never come exactly at the appointed time. It is considered nonsensical. Arrived 30-45 minutes after the scheduled time. Business meetings, on the other hand, often start at the appointed time. Some small shops, mainly in the countryside, close for lunch.

Guests are expected to show respect, courtesy, warmth and friendship. Salvadorans sincerely appreciate the praise of their country, home, children and garden. It is considered polite to bid again when you have been invited to someone. Avoid talking business at social events.

Anyone traveling should check the safety of the place where they are going, preferably avoid bus and preferably not walk around with valuables. If you are robbed, it is good advice to immediately release everything you have.


If you are visiting someone for the first time you should bring a small gift, preferably flowers or some candy. If the gift is wrapped, you usually open it when you receive it. Do not give knives or scissors as gifts. Don’t give away lilies either, it is considered a funeral flower.

Do not yawn without holding your hand. Don’t touch people. To show the length of people, the whole hand is held out and the palm forward. Holding the palm down is to show the height of animals, and is considered an insulting gesture to humans.

Pride and honor are important concepts. It is therefore important not to express personal criticism to others. It can damage the person’s reputation. Salvadorans often express themselves more indirectly than Swedes. A direct way of expression can be perceived as unpleasant and aggressive. The indirect way of expressing also means avoiding telling the absolute truth if it can upset someone. Therefore, a yes need not mean yes. As a Swedish, you may need to ask questions in several different ways to get clarity on which answer applies.

If one is home invited to someone, the host says buen provecho (tasty meal), as an invitation to start eating. It is considered polite to taste all the dishes served. Meals play an important social function and often extend over time. The conversations are often lively. It is considered impolite to leave an invitation immediately after the meal, you should stay at least an hour and socialize. Guests should praise the values ​​of the food, as an expression of their welcome.


Black and red beans, fried beans, corn, rice, eggs and fruits are basic commodities in Salvadoran cuisine. Corn flour is baked into tortillas – flat bread eaten for just about every meal. On festive occasions, you are happy to eat tamales, meat or chicken stuffed corn dough. Atol is a popular corn drink. Typical lunch foods are pupusa (breads of corn or wheat flour stuffed with fried beans, pumpkin kernels or cheese. Sometimes they also contain bacon, meat, shrimp or chicken). Casamiento is a well-seasoned blend of rice and beans. Coffee, soda and sweet fruit juices are the most common drinks.

Most restaurants are simple chops where you order your food from a list next to the kitchen. Fast food restaurants are found in the big cities and are quite expensive. There are also fine restaurants where you order from a menu at the table.


It is important to be whole, clean and neatly dressed. Especially great emphasis is placed on the shoes which should be neat and well plastered. It’s warm and people wear summer clothes all year round. During the winter months you may need a small jacket in the evening.

At work meetings, men often wear a suit, women wear. Those who work in offices often wear a suit or costume every day. In the country, men often wear long-sleeved unbuttoned shirt, tucked into their pants and a hat on their head to protect from the sun. School children often wear uniforms.


According to Abbreviationfinder, in El Salvador most festivals Catholic affiliation. However, many have become increasingly secular with time. Easter is an important holiday. Large statues of Jesus and the cross are carried around in processions. In some places, streets are closed off and adorned with beautiful carpets of colored sawdust, salt and flowers. On Fridays before Easter you do not eat meat. Seafood is typically Easter food, as is toast with honey. Many Salvadoran families go to the beach during Easter week.

May 1st demonstrates trade unions and authorities shut down. On May 3, Día de la Cruz, the day of the cross, will mark the beginning of the rainy season. Indigenous fertility rites and Catholic customs are mixed. You place a cross in the garden and decorate it with flowers, fruit and girls in hope of good harvest and happiness.

On August 6, El Salvador del Mundo, the Savior of the World, is celebrated. It is perhaps the country’s most important festival. Religious and social activities take place for a whole week. A large parade is held in the capital San Salvador. The party is also called La Bajada, or Transfiguración.

On Independence Day, September 15, parades with music and drill girls will be held in the country’s schools. The President is giving a speech to the nation. On October 12, Dia de la Raza, or Día de la Hispanidad is celebrated in memory of Columbus’s arrival in America. Some also call the day Resistance Day, with the aim of the indigenous people’s bloody loss to the colonizers. Children usually dress in traditional clothing on this day.

According to Countryaah, Christmas is celebrated big and really starts in early December with the celebration of the pregnant Mary. Then follows the celebration of Guadalupe, when the Virgin Mary revealed herself to the Indian Juan Diego. The children dress up in traditional clothes. Dance and sound bangs are important elements of the parties. On Christmas Eve you usually go to church and then you have dinner, the whole family together. The children celebrate Christmas Eve by banging the firecrackers while they wait for the Jesus child to come with presents. On Christmas Day you go to church and some go to the beach.

Many villages organize a party every year to celebrate their village saint. Then folk dances are often an important element. There are many traditional dances, most of them Native American. Often masks and clothing are used. The dances, for example, can symbolize a hunt or resistance to the colonizers.

El Salvador Immigration Statistics

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