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Visual Culture

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. 

Tradition: