NEARLY 500 years ago, when the Spanish arrived in what is now El Salvador, the predominant tribe in the area called their territory Cuscatlán—a name that means “Land of the Jewel.” Today, most people in El Salvador are descendants of indigenous tribes and European settlers.
Salvadorans are known for being industrious and friendly. They are also courteous and respectful. People greet others politely before starting a conversation or when entering a business by saying, “Buenos días” (good morning) or “Buenas tardes” (good afternoon). In fact, Salvadorans in rural areas and small towns consider it rude to ignore a passerby and not say a greeting.
One of the foods Salvadorans enjoy most is the pupusa—a cornmeal (or rice) tortilla stuffed with cheese and beans, as well as pork or other fillings. Pupusas are often served with tomato sauce and curtido—a mixture of cabbage, carrots, onions, and spicy vinegar. Although some people use a knife and fork, the traditional way to eat pupusas is with the fingers.
DID YOU KNOW? El Salvador has been called the land of volcanoes. There are more than 20 volcanoes, some of which are still active. Los Tercios Waterfall cascades over tall hexagonal columns of rock formed by volcanic activity.
There are more than 38,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses in El Salvador, and they are organized into about 700 congregations. They teach the Bible to some 43,000 people in Spanish, English, and Salvadoran Sign Language.