Salvador del Mundo

The patron saint and namesake of El Salvador—El Salvador del Mundo (the Savior of the World)—is honored with a national festival. Festival proceedings commence the week before the saint's day, on August 6, which is also the same day as the Feast of the Transfiguration. Some Salvadorans refer to the festival as Fiestas Agostinos (August Feasts).

The observance of the festival dates back to 1525, the year that the city of San Salvador, the present-day capital, was founded. The grandest of the celebrations take place in that city, but there are also observances throughout the rest of the country and in Salvadoran communities settled abroad.

The main events of the festival are a religious procession, a large fair, various sporting events, a beauty contest, and a riotous party featuring street floats and dancers. The religious ceremony takes place in front of the national cathedral and entails a spectacle known as la bajada (the descent). This ritual features an old wooden image of Christ that is paraded through the streets and then lowered inside a wooden shell. There the sculpture's purple garments are removed, and it emerges from the shell appareled in gleaming white robes, a symbolic representation of Christ's transfiguration.