10 Popular Festivals In El Salvador

festivals in el salvador
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Although Central America’s smallest country, El Salvador is a fully rounded package. There are tons of natural wonders that will take your breath away, a host of adventurous activities that’ll get the adrenaline kicking, impressive buildings and murals to leave you awestruck, and a quintessentially warm vibe that comes off of all aspects of the country. While these may be the top tourist draws, El Salvador’s many excellent festivals are no less of an experience that you have GOT to participate in – they range from food and culture to art, music, and local attractions. Unearth the beauty of this gem of a destination, but don’t forget to let your hair down at these festivals, too. Scroll over for the most popular festivals in El Salvador.

To make the most of your vacation, consider staying in one of the best beach resorts or Airbnb vacation rentals in El Salvador.

1. Las Bolas De Fuego (Balls of Fire Festival)

Bola de Fuego Festival de globos
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user ElmerGuevara used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Travel north of the capital city San Salvador and you’ll land in Nejapa, a small municipality where the vibrant Balls of Fire Festival takes place. Opposing teams literally fling fireballs of cloth, lit with kerosene, at each other in a unique display of bravery and fun. While this festival may sound utterly odd to you, the locals attribute two plausible explanations for the origins of this festival. One is that the festival represented the cataclysmic eruption of El Playon volcano in the 17th century that forced Nejapa’s residents to flee, leaving behind their homes and livelihoods. The other is that this 17th-century volcanic eruption was the embodiment of St Jeronimo, a local saint, trying to ward off devilish spirits away from the town. It remains unknown how or why ‘Balls of Fire Festival’ came to be, but this celebration in El Salvador can be quite fun for the attendees.

Las Bolas De Fuego

Address: Nejapa, El Salvador

Takes place: August 31

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2. San Miguel Carnival

San Miguel Carnival is understandably held in the city of San Miguel in eastern El Salvador. This festival is a celebration of the city’s patron saint, Virgen de la Paz. Parades, dance performances, marching band performances, and Latin American music fill the streets, creating a festive atmosphere. Held in the month of November, the popular carnival and event in El Salvador wind up with a mass and procession, followed by cultural performances on the last Saturday of the month.

San Miguel Carnival

Address: San Miguel, El Salvador

Takes place: November

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3. Fiesta Julias (July Festival)

Azul y blano
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Susana Fernández used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Fiesta Julias is a medley of street parades, band performances, religious masses, and several fun cultural events. It is hosted in the city of Santa Ana to celebrate its patron saint. Mariachi performances infuse an air of cheer in Santa Ana’s streets, while fairgrounds and performing clowns keep the little ones thoroughly entertained. The entire city turns into a large party during this El Salvador festival.

Fiesta Julias

Address: Santa Ana, El Salvador

Takes place: mid-July

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4. Transcendance Full Moon Festival [Last event in 2019]

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Transcendance Full Moon Festival

VIP TICKETS 87% SOLD OUT! VIP TABLES ONLY 3 LEFT! Compra tus entradas antes que se agoten... Transcendance Full Moon Festival September 14th (2pm - 2am) DJ LINE-UP Shon Miller (California) Founder Dirty Hype Marco Andres (El Salvador) A Journey Through Tech House Diego Escobar (El Salvador) Dark House, Deep Drops Luis Maldonedo (Guatemala) Finest Swedish House Fernando Ruiz (El Salvador) Founder VRTZ Jose Salmeron (El Salvador) Founder 707 Fernando Campollo (Guatemala) Founder Wizards Mansion ACROBATICS Shaman \ Uli Abrego (fire dancer) Fire | Kawahe Gui (fire dancer) Air / Emy Mena (aerial acrobatics) Earth \ Gabriel Galego (expressive dancer) Water | Jeisel Villalta (acrobatics) Performance by Cadabra collective Transportation from La Gran Via to Mizata. Bungalows, Bunks and Camping Available.

Posted by NAWi Beach House on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Transcendance Full Moon Festival takes place in Mizata resort village. This annual festival is a 12-hour revelry of several international DJs and music performers banging out brilliant music with a hearty side of enjoyment that continues into the wee hours of the night. Circus performers, bonfires, wrestling and acrobatic performances, and fireworks take the experience of the Transcendance Full Moon Festival a full notch higher. The attendees enjoy access to open bars and drinking games (are the beer pong pros listening?) along with some beach-side fun.

Transcendance Full Moon Festival

Address: NAWi Beach House, 86.5 Cartrtera del Litoral, Santa María Mizata, El Salvador

Takes place: September 14

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5. Holy Week

El cristo de la Caida ante El Salvador
Source: Photo by Flickr user JJ Merelo used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Also known as ‘Semana Santa’, Holy Week is held in honour of Jesus Christ and is a week-long commemoration of the life and works of Christ. During this time, streets are abuzz with parades, dance and music performances, cosplay, beautifully decorated public areas, and food fairs. Be sure to try a sample of their traditional food, too. The festival culminates in Holy Friday, when colourful and beautifully decorated sawdust carpets – sometimes with religious iconography – are made on city streets for display. Such is the Holy Week’s popularity in the country that schools and (some) workplaces are shut for the duration, alcohol is banned for a period of time, and meat is not cooked in households!

Holy Week

Address: El Salvador

Takes place: March or April

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6. Día de la Raza (Day of the Race)

To recognize the coming together of El Salvador’s indigenous culture and Spanish culture, the country celebrates the Day of the Race festival. Several cultural performances are put up to remember the history, ancestors, and traditional practices of the two cultures. It takes place annually on October 12th (or the nearest Monday to it), which is widely accepted as the day Spanish explorer, Christopher Columbus, arrived in the Americas.

Día de la Raza

Address: El Salvador

Takes place: October 12

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7. Kosmofest [Last event in 2019]

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Kosmofest is the ultimate beauty and lifestyle festival. It involves talks and demonstrations from several local and internationally renowned beauty and lifestyle experts. It takes place in the capital city San Salvador and requires the attendees to purchase admission tickets, which includes breakfast and a complimentary gift kit.


Address: Hotel Crowne Plaza El Salvador, Colonia Escalon, 64108 Estepona, San Salvador, El Salvador

Takes place: October

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8. Fiesta de las Flores y Palmas (Festival of Flowers and Palms)

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The first Sunday of May is a floral delight in the small Salvadorian town of Panchimalco, a short distance away from the capital city. Locals gather to honour the Blessed Mother under the titles of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. This festival is also a way to welcome the rainy season and pray for a good harvest by decorating the entire town with spectacular floral displays, strewn with palm branches. The women, dressed in traditional outfits, parade through the entire town carrying these displays, and are accompanied by music and dance performers as well. It is quite a stunning sight!

Fiesta de las Flores y Palmas

Address: Panchimalco, El Salvador

Takes place: May

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9. Día de Independencia (Independence Day)

Independencia desfile Santa Tecla 2012
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ll1324 used under CC0

September 15th was when El Salvador gained independence from Spain in 1821 and this day is celebrated throughout the country with extravagant celebrations that involve fireworks, parades, flag-waving, music and dance performances, and a host of other jollities. While the celebrations are at an all-time high in the entire country, those in the capital city San Salvador are the grandest of them all. It is, as if, on this day, all El Salvadorians become one and rejoice the historic event in the country’s history. Head over to the beaches for some of the best views of the fireworks during this El Salvador holiday and festival.

Día de Independencia

Address: El Salvador

Takes place: September 15

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10. Fiestas Agostinas (August Festival)

Fesfile del Comercio5 2011
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ocastro3 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Held in the first week of August in the capital city San Salvador, Fiestas Agostinas is a melange of sports events, art exhibitions, theatre performances, parades, and a food fair that brings together an array of Salvadorians to enjoy. The marching band hollers as early as 4am to call out to the enthu-cutlets to get ready for a day filled with fun things to do. Fiestas Agostinas is celebrated to commemorate the country’s patron, Divine Saviour of the World (Divino Salvador del Mundo), and is probably one of the biggest religious festivals hosted here.

Fiestas Agostinas

Address: San Salvador, El Salvador

Takes place: August

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Boundless enjoyment

El Salvador offers a wide array of activities and sites for people of all ages, from surf spots to the best places to visit. Although El Salvador may have lots of things to boast about, the country’s festivals are quite something in themselves. Aside from being thoroughly enjoyable experiences, they are a great way for tourists to get a taste of what this beautiful Central American country is all about. Go ahead for the typical touristy experiences here, but don’t forget to enjoy the festivals, too – they’re fun, fabulous, and a whole lot of fanfare!

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Priyanjali, a writer and traveler, identifies as a self-proclaimed aesthete dedicated to achieving fulfillment in her personal and professional life. Her skill lies in transforming intangible...Read more

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