Padre Eterno Cofradía carries on El Salvador's pre-Columbian rituals

  • Altar of the Cofradía Padre Eterno, or Eternal Father: At right is Alonso Garcia, majordomo of the cofradía. The shrine is kept in his home, shown, except during the annual feast, when it is brought out to its own thatched booth in the yard.
  • The thatched booth and yard where the cofradía Padre Eterno holds its feast. Izalco, El Salvador.
  • A family member of the majordomo of the cofradia Padre Eterno shows off one of the paper decorations she has been cutting for the feast. Izalco, El Salvador.
  • Statues belonging to the cofradía Padre Eterno. In the foreground is the pre-Columbian style censor used at the altar. Izalco, El Salvador.
  • Statues of the Cofradía Padre Eterno, or Eternal Father. The larger statue is the Eternal Father. Izalco, El Salvador.
  • The cofradía Padre Eterno's statue of the Virgin of the Assumption, patroness of the region. Izalco, El Salvador
  • Though majordomo Alonso Garcia is proud to point out the local, indigenous character of the cofradía Padre Eterno, he was also proud to show off this gift of water, oil and earth brought to the cofradía from the Holy Land. Izalco, El Salvador.
  • Alonso Garcia, majordomo of the Cofradía Padre Eterno, holds up cups for drinks for the last day of the year.
  • A censor in a pre-Columbian style design. Cofradía Padre Eterno, Izalco, El Salvador
  • Religious and family momentos in the main room of Alonso Garcia's home, also home of the cofradía Padre Eterno. Izalco, El Salvador.
  • Mementos in the main room of Alonso Garcia's home, also home of the cofradía Padre Eterno. Izalco, El Salvador
  • Alonso Garcia, majordomo of the Cofradía Padre Eterno, holds a carved "offering tree" in the style of those that he says was used by indigenous people to hold fruits, corn and other offerings to the shrine.

The Padre Eterno Cofradía is the oldest confraternity in Izalco, dedicated to God the Eternal Father. Majordomo Alonso Garcia is eager to point out the statues of his confraternity as the first in the city, and the degree to which the confraternities carry on pre-Columbian rituals in a Christian context. He suggests that historically, the main leaders of the indigenous community were chosen to lead the brotherhood. They also played a leading role in the indigenous uprisings of 1932, after which thousands of indigenous people were killed by the army.

The festivities, held on Trinity Sunday, take place in a thatched booth and an open yard. All participants who come to the festivities are given bread, chocolate, coffee and tamales. The offerings are made at a fixed altar that includes candles and incense from a censor that is decidedly pre-Columbian in design. In the past, this confraternity brought its procession into town, but Don Garcia indicated that the cofradía does not currently include a procession in its festivities because it lacks the funds to purchase a worthy platform.

Listen to an interview with Alonso Garcia, majordomo of Padre Eterno Cofradia, and Don Garcia.
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