El Salvador's cofradías sponsor feasts throughout the year

  • The feast of Cristo Negro runs from January 8-15, and spills out from inside the church into the neighboring streets, where the cofradía sets up a shrine in a thatched hut.
  • On Holy Thursday in Izalco, the procession begins its way through the streets. The statue of the Nazareno can be rotated to face the homes of families along the route. Photo credit: Josue Parada/El Salvador
  • A processional carriage ready for the May procession at a village church in La Paz, El Salvador. Photo by Marty Kelly.
  • Alonso Garcia, majordomo of the Cofradía Padre Eterno, holds up cups for drinks for the last day of the year.

While feasts, shrines and lay confraternities may be distinct phenomena in many cultures, they all come together through the cofradías, the lay confraternities that help define Catholic life in parts of in Western El Salvador. Cofradías sponsor feasts on specified days each year. Through the rest of the year, each cofradía watches over a number of religious statues, and sponsors at least one annual feast.