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Feast of Niño Pepe part of Advent celebrations in El Salvador

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 to Tuesday, January 12, 2021
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Listen to an interview with Ana Musto, majordoma of Cofradia del Niño Pepe

The Cofradía del Niño Pepe is located in the Barrio Santa Cruz, in Izalco. "Niño" refers to the infant Jesus. Majordoma Ana Musto said that the name "Niño Pepe" referred to the fact that the statue was “orphaned” in an earthquake and fire that destroyed the local church. Neither the statues of Mary nor Joseph survived, but the child Jesus did.

The feast takes place over five weeks, from December 8 through January 12. Many of the festivities take place in a dirt yard in front of the small adobe building that houses the shrine, behind Ana Musto’s house. The Niño is carried in procession around the barrio. To announce the feast, young boys parade around the barrio banging drumsticks on hollow tortoise shells affixed to their belts. Ana says that the statue was originally found among turtles, which is commemorated by the boys’ playing. Festivities include mariachi music, dancing, drinking, fireworks, tamales, and chocolate bread buns.

The cofradía also sponsors a feast for St. Gregory the Great.


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