Procession of the Christs of Izalco: Exploring Salvadorans Traditions and Preserving Heritage

This Tradition in Sonsonate Represents the Spirit of the Holy Week

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Mar 26th, 2024

As in past years, Indigenous residents, parishioners of Izalco, and visitors alike will participate in the 2024 Procession of the Christs of Izalco. This Salvadoran tradition unfolds every year on Holy Thursday during the Easter Week celebrations.

During the Procession of the Christs of Izalco, members of the brotherhoods carry 12 crucified Christs throughout the town’s streets for 16 hours; it begins at 2.30 PM on Thursday and ends at 6 AM on Friday. This is an activity in which Catholics and indigenous peoples participate.

In the Procession of the Christs of Izalco, members of the Jesus Nazareno brotherhood of that district participate in carrying the images; they wear their customary purple tunics, and the indigenous people wear their traditional clothing.

During the procession, indigenous individuals seek the protection of Mother Earth and the preservation of sacred sites; they also pay tribute to their ancestors.

It is also a time for remembrance as in Izalco, some 32,000 indigenous people were massacred in 1932, by order of the dictator Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez, when the indigenous people rejected a reform that dispossessed them of their communal lands.

SEE ALSO: Holy Week in El Salvador: A Vibrant Celebration of Faith and Tradition

This procession continues to attract attention because it is an example of the syncretism of the Catholic religion and the indigenous peoples of the area. Izalco is one of the best towns in El Salvador to learn about the country’s indigenous traditions.

The 12 images of the crucified Christ, embellished with palms and flowers, are prominently displayed. This procession holds the distinction of being the longest in duration across El Salvador.

SEE ALSO: Exploring El Salvador Culture: Embracing Vibrant Customs and Traditions with Warm-hearted People

In 2023, the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly declared the Procession of the Christs as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of El Salvador. This initiative aims to celebrate and rescue the customs and traditions of the country.

The Procession of the Christs of Izalco stands as a significant Easter Week tradition, spotlighting the cultural heritage of El Salvador. This tradition is considered one of the religious activities that most represent the fervor of the Holy Week.