Ahuachapán lights up with the Los Farolitos Festival

By Yaneth Estrada

As is tradition, every 7 September Ahuachapán receives the eve of the birth of the Virgin Girl with the centennial lights of the multicolored lanterns that illuminate the main streets, that very early are filled with visitors from all over, music and local food.

Walter Elijah, coordinator of the House of Culture of Ahuachapán, reported that the celebration of the lanterns does not have an exact date of the beginning, although many historians point out 1850.

further, The expert assured that after a recent investigation it was discovered that the image of the Virgin, It was brought from Spain during the Presidency of General Francisco Menéndez.

Among the commemorative activities programmed by the municipal mayor's office for the days 7, 8, 9 Y 10 of September, are communal and cultural events such as: photo exhibition, battle of values, ahuachapaneco corner, concert of local artists and the Farolitoarte contest.

Preparation and tradition

With many months in advance, the preparation of the lanterns begins, which are built with a wooden structure lined with cellophane of different colors and candles are placed in the center. Then begins the preparation and assembly of the figures that each year compete in the contest, which this year was called Farolitoarte.

Creativity makes an incredible waste through the streets of Ahuachapán that are filled with figures of virgins, iglesias, wells, trees and images adorned by multiple colored lanterns that illuminate the eve of the birth of the Virgin Girl.

Also the Catholic Church offers a special mass in honor of the birth of the Virgin Mary, which according to the Catholic calendar is the 8 September and at midnight he raises paper lamps to the sky as a symbol of hope.

further, in meters and meters of streets of history and old houses, visitors can find music, stuffed breads, Spanish churros, ticucos (tamales), chips, sale of crafts, shoes, mariachis, artistic acts, punch and the Salvadoran heat that makes itself felt.

The Day of Los Farolitos is a tradition that has been celebrated for more than 150 years in the city of Ahuachapán, although some locals express that this festival is celebrated in the town of Concepción de Ataco.

It is because of this effort by the Ahuachapanecos to maintain tradition as part of the local culture that the Legislative Assembly approved in 2014 declare this tradition as "Intangible Cultural Heritage of El Salvador".