Los Talcigüines of Texistepeque: A Salvadoran Holy Week Tradition Worth Experiencing

The Whip-Wielding Demons Kick off the Salvadoran Easter Week Festivities

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Mar 24th, 2024

Every year’s Holy Monday, the famous Talcigüines of Texistepeque take to the streets dressed in red and whip visitors and locals alike to cleanse their sins. The whip-wielding demons hitting people is a cultural tradition of Texistepeque in the Santa Ana North municipality.

The Talcigüines of Texistepeque are part of El Salvador’s cultural and religious traditions resembling the fight between good and evil. Talcigüines in Nahuatl means “demon-possessed men.”

The religious event represents the temptations of Jesus, and while Jesus Christ walks through the main streets of Texistepeque, the group of Talcigüines torments the visitors, punishing them with their whips so that they purge their sins.

Before venturing onto the streets, the men embodying demons participate in a mass. This tradition symbolizes the biblical narrative from the Book of Matthew in the New Testament, depicting the battle between good and evil and Jesus’s triumph over the demons.

The people who make up the Talcigüines group attend church on Holy Monday to confess to the priest.

Following confession and mass attendance, each participant proceeds to the church’s sacristy to dress in red cloaks and masks. The individual portraying Jesus wears a purple tunic and carries a cross draped in matching fabric, along with a bell.

The first Talcigüin exits the church and proceeds to the corner where Jesus is at. Here, the Talcigüin tries to tempt Jesus by running alongside him, first to one side and then ultimately towards the center.

The Talcigüin strikes in a cross pattern while Jesus rings the bell energetically. In the center, Jesus crouches down, and the Talcigüin spins around, hitting the ground nine times.

After this act, the Talcigüin collapses in humiliation before Jesus, who steps over him. Subsequently, Jesus releases the Talcigüin, who then joins the crowd to pursue and whip the people.

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

The select group of demon-possessed men is made up of about 50 people who walk around the Texistepeque streets for about three hours, whipping people’s sins out of them.

The Salvadoran Legislative Assembly awarded the title of Intangible Cultural Heritage of El Salvador to the Los Talcigüienes group back in 2015.

The Talcigüines of Texistepeque event has become a top tourist attraction during the holy week celebrations; also, it is a big part of Salvadoran Culture.