El Salvador Celebrations. El Salvador Holidays and Traditions

El Salvador holidays and celebrations
El Salvador Holidays and Celebrations.

El Salvador Celebrations include significant events such as Holy Week, the day of the cross, the July festivities, the August festival, the Nejapa balls of fire, independence day, all souls day, the national pupusa day, the San Miguel carnival, and Christmas.

The El Salvador holidays and traditions combine religious events with unique indigenous and colonial customs. The most popular religious celebrations are Easter week, the August festivities, and Christmas.

When it comes to popularity, the July festivities in Santa Ana, the August Festivities in San Salvador, The San Miguel Festivities with its music carnival, and the December festivities are the ones most people look forward to.

These popular festivities are celebrated, observed, and enjoyed by communities and families of all sizes and ages, all over El Salvador.

El Salvador Celebrations in 2021

Day Date Holiday
Friday Jan 1 New year’s day
Sunday Jan 16 Signing of the peace accords
Monday February 15 First day of lent or Cuaresma
Monday March 8 Women’s day
Sunday March 28 Palm Sunday
Thursday April 1 Maundy Thursday
Friday April 2 Good Friday
Saturday April 3 Holy Saturday
Sunday April 4 Easter Sunday
Saturday May 1 Labor Day
Monday May 3 Day of the Cross
Friday May 7 Soldier Day
Monday May 10 Mother’s Day
Thursday June 17 Father’s Day
Tuesday June 22 Teacher’s Day
July 17 to 26 Santa Ana July Festivities.
Mon-Thur Aug 3 to 6 August Festivities.
Wednesday Sept 15 Independence Day
Friday Oct 1 Children’s Day
Tuesday Nov 2 All Souls Day
Frid-Sund Nov 26-28 The San Miguel Carnival
Sunday Nov 14 National Pupusa day
Friday Dec 24 Christmas eve
Saturday Dec 25 Christmas Day
Friday Dec 31 New Year’s Eve

The Following are some of the El Salvador holidays and traditions with a short description. This list also includes some festive days well-known among the local population, which seem like holidays in El Salvador.

January 1st. New year’s Day

New year’s day is a national holiday in El Salvador. All government offices close, and most regular businesses close as well. Many Salvadorans spend time at the beaches, rivers, water parks, or tourist spots during this day.

January 16th. The Signing of the Peace Accords

This day commemorates the end of the Salvadoran civil war; both the government and the FMLN guerillas signed the peace accords in Mexico. This is an observed holiday in El Salvador; businesses work their regular hours.

March 8th. Women’s Day

Women’s day is not a public holiday; it is an observed holiday only. Businesses have regular opening hours. Organizations that fight for the freedom and rights of women have activities or marches during this day.

El Salvador traditions
Palm Sunday. Salvadoran tradition.

March 28th. Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is not a public holiday; it is a religious holiday. According to Christian beliefs, Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

This day marks the start of Holy Week and always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. Visit our “Holy week in El Salvador” page to get more information.

April 1st. Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is a religious holiday that memorializes Jesus Christ’s institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper; this is described in the Christian scripture. This is a national holiday, government employees and schools are closed.

April 2nd. Good Friday

Good Friday is a Salvadoran national holiday. It is a day off for the majority of Salvadorans. On this day, schools, governmental offices, and most businesses are closed. Good Friday is a religious holiday that commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion, and death.

April 3rd. Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is a national holiday. Therefore, on this day, schools, the government, and most businesses are closed. Holy Saturday, according to the Christian bible, is the day when Jesus Christ was laid to rest in the tomb after his death.

April 4th. Easter Sunday

In El Salvador, Easter Sunday is not a national holiday. By all means, since it falls on Sunday, most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours. Easter Sunday is one of the most festive days among Salvadoran Christians. It celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from death, as written in the bible.

El Salvador Celebrations
Holy week in El Salvador. Photo by: @CentAm_Beauty

May 1st. Labor Day

On this day, Salvadoran remembers the struggle of the average worker. During this day, unions organizations organize marches to emphasize the rights of workers in El Salvador.

May 3rd. Day of the Cross

The day of the cross combines religion and indigenous traditions in El Salvador. For some Salvadorans, this day marks the beginning of the rainy season or winter; they use this day to give thanks for the upcoming harvest season.

On the other hand, religious people use this day to give thanks and to protect the family from the devil. Visit our day of the cross page to get more information on this holiday.

Salvadoran holidays
Day of the cross in El Salvador

May 7th. Soldier Day

This day marks the anniversary of the Legion of Liberty; it was created by General Manuel Jose Arce in 1824. Soldier day commemorates the courage, commitment, and love for the country shown by the men and women who have sworn to defend it. In many cities across the country, you will see parades and special events to show appreciation to all Salvadoran soldiers.

May 10th. Mother’s Day

When it comes to El Salvador holidays, this day is one of the most popular and celebrated days in the country. Obviously, Mother’s Day is to show appreciation towards mothers and mother figures in El Salvador. This is a National Holiday, government offices, schools, and many businesses are closed.

June 17th. Father’s Day

Father’s day is a celebration to honor all Salvadoran fathers and father figures across the nation and the world. It is a special day when Salvadorans give thanks and appreciates the effort of fathers, who selfishly try to get a better future for their kids and family.

June 22nd. Teacher’s Day

Salvadorans dedicate teacher’s day to the thousands of teachers in the country. These teachers, every day, are responsible for providing the necessary tools to new Salvadoran generations. It is not a national holiday; nonetheless, it is a day off for schools, colleges, and public institutions.

July 17th to 26th. The July Festivities

The July festivities are not one of the National Holidays in El Salvador. Nevertheless, they are included here because of their popularity. They are the patron saint festivities of the city of Santa Ana, which honors its patron saint, our lady of Saint Anne. Without a doubt, there are one of the most outstanding festivities in the country.

El Salvador Holidays
The Santa Ana July Celebrations.

August 3rd to 6th. The August Festivities

The August festivities in El Salvador are some of the most festive days in the nation’s capital and the country. These days are the patron saint festivities of the capital city, San Salvador; they are in honor of the Divine Savior of the World. From August 3rd to the 5th, San Salvador holds special events in different parts of the city.

The main religious celebration takes palace on August 5th; on this day, a procession is held with the image of Jesus Christ. It begins in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; it ends in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Divine Savior of the World.

Also, other various activities are held; for example, the main parade, the election of the Queen of the festivities, and the Commerce parade.

Only August 6th is a National Holiday; nevertheless, most schools and government offices take most of the week off. During this week, the beaches, lakes, and rivers get crowded with people enjoying the time off.

El Salvador holidays and Celebrations
The San Salvador August celebrations.

September 15th. Independence Day

September 15 is a National Holiday in El Salvador; this day marks the commemoration of the freedom and sovereignty of the Republic of El Salvador from Spain obtained in 1821.

On this day, all over the country, local educational and government institutions have events and parades to commemorate this day.

El Salvador Celebrations
President Nayib Bukele at an Independence Day celebration.

October 1st. Children’s Day

Children’s day is an observed holiday in honor of all the Salvadoran children. Also, it is a celebration that seeks to encourage children to strive for much more. Furthermore, on this day, recreational activities are organized to motivate children to enjoy their childhood.

November 2nd. All Souls Day

All souls day in El Salvador or all saints day is a festive day used to pay respect and remember those relatives and friends who have passed away. On this day, in cemeteries all over the country, you will witness religious events such as mass and other festivities such as Mariachis singing ballads.

National Pupusa Day. “Second Sunday in November”

Yes, El Salvador has a national pupusa day that is celebrated on the second Sunday in November. Indeed, Salvadoran Pupusas are one of the most typical Salvador food the country has. This day is dedicated to enjoying one of the most representative typical dishes of El Salvador, the pupusas.

Every year activities around the country are organized to publicize this delicious dish that is part of the national gastronomy.

The San Miguel Carnival. Last Weekend in November

The San Miguel carnival is a weekend party that includes live music, parades, and dancing. It takes place on the last weekend in November; it is part of the celebrations in honor of the San Miguel patron saint.

December 24th. Christmas Eve

In Salvadoran culture, Christmas eve is the most important day of the Christmas season. This is the time when families get together to be with each other and celebrate the holiday.

Christmas in El Salvador is pre-eminently a family affair. Generally, the main events, and the main meal, take place on Christmas Eve, usually after 9pm. Salvadorans stay up late, even all night, talking and celebrating with other family members.

December 25th. Christmas Day

December 25th is a National Holiday. Now, since in the country the main celebration is on the 24th. The 25th is a day to simply relax and recover from the night before.

December 31th. New Yers Eve

Lastly, New Year’s Eve, this is one of the largest celebrations around the world, El Salvador included. This is not an official holiday; nevertheless, it is a day when most businesses close early or don’t open at all.

Christmas in El Salvador
Salvadoran Celebrations during Christmas. Photo by @alcaldia_ss

El Salvador Celebrations

The items listed above are either National Holidays or celebrated festive days. Obviously, they are not the only ones. El Salvador has many other celebrations that were left off this list. For example, the student’s day, lawyers’ day, doctor’s day, and many others.

If you ever have the chance to witness some of the El Salvador celebrations, go for it. I am sure you will enjoy any of them.


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