Panchimalco, municipality of the department of San Salvador, is the closest colonial city to San Salvador, only 17 kilometers away, and is located at 545 meters above sea level. According to the official census of 2007, it has a population of 41,260 inhabitants. Panchimalco is a pre-Columbian town which name means “place of shields and flags”.
The church of Panchimalco, more than 200 years old, is considered an architectural jewel. From there you can see a very famous rock formation called La Puerta del Diablo (1,131 meters above sea level).
The system of brotherhoods or cofradías evolved during the period of Spanish colonial rule and has been able to maintain its integrity until the 20th century. This tradition has fifteen brotherhoods, each of which has certain responsibilities in the ceremonies that are celebrated around a certain saint. Each confraternity has a steward and several people in management positions, and all their activities are supervised by the leader of the indigenous religious community, called the Teta. The brotherhoods operate independently of the church and the municipal government. In the cofradías it is customary to distribute rice with pork, a marquesote or a very traditional Panchimalco cake for dessert, as well as the drinks chicha and horchata, delight of locals and foreigners.
Before the colony the natives carried out rituals to celebrate the advent of the rainy season, making offerings and sacrifices to their deities, such as “Our Lord The Skinned”.
Its festivities are celebrated in honor of the Lord of the Holy Cross of Rome in September. The “Las Flores and Las Palmas” festivity, held every year in May, coincides with the beginning of the rainy season in the country. The celebration extends for a week, in which cultural activities are performed as traditional dances, elaboration and sale of traditional food, sweets, and “chicha”, among others. The current celebration is a combination of the catholic religion and pre-Columbian customs.
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