Signs of Catholicism commonly advertised on El Salvador's streets

  • Mural on the exterior of San Miguelito Municipal Market, San Salvador, El Salvador.
  • San Salvador vehicle; religious slogans are common, though it can be hard to tell if these are Catholic or Evangelical.
  • Rosary hanging in a car, a fairly common sight in el Salvador
  • Christ statue, one of several small shrines in San Miguelito Municipal Market, San Salvador, El Salvador.
  • Santuario Immaculada Concepción de María, Concepción de Ataco, El Salvador
  • Devotional mural painted by the boatmen of Lake Suchitoto in 2010 on an island in the lake. The island had been a practice Air Force bombing target during the 1980s civil war.
  • Commerce and Religion mix with seeming ease. At the parking lot of this cell phone store is an image to Our Lady of Guadaloupe. The automobile also has a sticker on it for an Evangelical church.
  • Virgen del Guadaloupe and Cristo Rey on a bus, San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Town park: "Welcome to San Bartoleme Perulapia" El Salvador
  • Nativity Creche at Cuscatalan Park in San Salvador, El Salvador
  • "This house is Catholic." Izalco, El Salvador
  • Rosary stickers show an image of Mary inside a rosary shaped like El Salvador. El Boqueron, El Salvador
  • A pharmacy in Juayua, El Salvador is named after the Black Christ figure, a popular feast in Guatemala and western El Salvador. Pharmacies typically have religious names in El Salvador.
  • A prayer for the blessing of a business, at the gate of a small shop that sells hubcaps; San Salvador, El Salvador

Catholicism is strongly represented visually in El Salvador. Faith is commonly advertised in public, whether through murals, bumper stickers, rosaries in cars, and crèche scenes. Sometimes the visual representations are quite clearly Catholic, and others seem more Evangelical; but given that each church borrows from the other, it can be hard at times to tell which faith is being advertised.

In San Salvador especially, the design of churches is quite varied.  Because the region is in an earthquake zone, few churches date back more than 100 years. Churches typically are designed in painted concrete, whether as variations on traditional Italian and Spanish designs, or modernist alternatives.

In many neighborhoods of El Salvador, Evangelicals are now visually more present than Catholics. Many small churches use new or converted factory space.

Salvadorans often stress that theirs is a conservative society with a focus on not standing out. In clothing, modesty is important for both women and men. Adult men wear long pants, no matter what the heat, and women wear longer, more modest skirts. Clothing colors are typically muted. Bright colors come out for festive events like Quinceañera, for flowers to decorate statues and homes, and for certain religious plaques.

Religious jewelry is not common. Out of several hundred people one might see at church, a few people might be wearing a cross, and a few more might wear a rosary.