Semana Santa 2022
This is Semana Santa (Holy Week) in El Salvador, a week of vacations leading up to the Christian holidays of Good Friday and Easter. After a complete pandemic lockdown in 2020 and a partial restoration in 2021, Semana Santa 2022 will feel much closer to normal in the country.
El Salvador's tourism authorities say they expect 170 thousand visitors during the week, including 35,000 who will arrive by air through the country's international airport.
Visitors to tourist sites are likely to see a heavy presence of security forces as the country moves into a third week under the State of Exception. The National Civilian Police have reported that more than 9100 persons have been arrested and accused of being gang members. Human rights advocates and the international community continue to express their concerns about arbitrary detentions of those who are not in the gangs and conditions rising to the level of torture within the country's prisons, as I have detailed previously.
Outside of tourist sites, in poor and marginalized communities, the security forces won't be protecting restaurants and beaches but will continue the "mano dura" policing which has marked the State of Exception, locking down communities and snatching those suspected of gang affiliations.
This year Semana Santa comes at a time when COVID-19 levels appear to be at one of the lowest levels for the country since the beginning of the pandemic. The Ministry of Health is asking vacationers to continue to follow COVID-safety protocols.
While many will take advantage of their time off to go to the beach, mountains or the tourist centers throughout the country, others will be taking time to participate in the religious festivals at the root of Semana Santa. Some examples to date:
The City of Sonsonate is known for its daily processions throughout Semana Santa. You can see videos of this year's processions at this link (and there is still time to travel there to see more processions live.)
Palms, flowers, and the faithful filled the streets for the traditional Palm Sunday procession in Panchimalco. video.
|From Semana Santa procession in Sonsonate|