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Culture in El Salvador


El Salvador has a rich culture which has a set of customs, practices, codes, norms, rules, dress codes, religion and rituals. The culture of El Salvador is much like any other country in Latin America, or more specifically of Central America. The European influences are emphasized in the architecture of the colonial churches, museums and theatres through out most of El Salvador. In addition, contemporary life in its cities has become similar to that of the rest of Latin America.


Salvadoran literary production in the latter 20th century has been concerned with a re-examination of the national history. Notable works include the novels and poetry of Manlio Argueta, the poetry of Roque Dalton, and the short stories of José Marie Mendez. The country suffers from a lack of publishing facilities.

Other important El Salvadoran writers are Francisco Gavidia (1863-1955), Salarrué (Salvador Salazar Arrué, 1899-1975), Claudia Lars, Alfredo Espino, Pedro Geoffroy Rivas and José Roberto Cea.

Visual Arts

The village of La Palma has become famous for a school of art started by Fernando Llort. Images of mountain villages, campesinos, and Christ are painted in bright colours on a variety of wooden objects. The town of Ilobasco is known for its ceramics, while San Sebastián is known for its textile art.

Amongst the more renowned representatives of the visual arts are the painters Augusto Crespin, Noe Canjura, Carlos Cañas, Julia Díaz, Mauricio Mejia, Maria Elena Palomo de Mejia, Camilo Minero, Ricardo Carbonell, Roberto Huezo, Miguel Angel Cerna, (the painter and writer better known as MACLo), Esael Araujo, and many others.

Performance Arts

Most of the music on Salvadoran radio is standard pop fare from the United States, Mexico, and various Latin American countries, but there is a small underground movement of folk music which draws its inspiration from current events in El Salvador.


The music of El Salvador has a mixture of Mayan, Pipil and Spanish influences. This music includes religious songs (mostly Roman Catholic) used to celebrate Christmas and other holidays, especially feast days of the saints. Satirical and rural lyrical themes are common. Popular styles in modern El Salvador include salsa, cumbia, hip hop and reggaeton. Popular music in El Salvador uses marimba tehpe'ch, flutes, drums, scrapers and gourds, as well more recently imported guitars and other instruments. Cuban, Colombian and Mexican music has infiltrated the country, especially salsa and cumbia.


In El Salvador, there are different types of costumes, of which the majority are used in religious or other festivals, although in some of the older towns they are still worn regularly. In female clothing it is common to see elements like a scapular, a shawl, a cotton headscarf with different coloured adornments. These can be worn with a skirt and a blouse, or with a dress. The normal footwear is sandals. With male clothing, it is common to see a cotton suit or a cotton shirt worn with modern jeans, with sandals or boots, and a cowboy hat. However, these are rural fashions and there can be many variations depending on the area





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