Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

El Salvador - Ereguayquin

Ereguayquin is currently an important place of worship of Saint Benedict of Palermo in El Salvador. During colonial times there were indigo, sugar cane and tobacco haciendas, in which a large group of Africans and their descendants worked.

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Ereguayquin is a municipality of the Department of Usulutan, located in the eastern area of El Salvador. During the 16th century this area was inhabited by two indigenous populations, the Lencas and the Uluas, however, the area was abandoned after the pirate invasions that took place between 1682 and 1683. Later on, the area was re-populated and by 1749 it was a part of the province of San Miguel, which in turn was part of the provinces of San Salvador in the Kingdom of Guatemala. At the turn of 18th century the parish of Ereguayquin had six churches, one brotherhood and thirty haciendas. Towards the beginning of the 19th century the settlement of the parish of Usulutan, to which Ereguayquin belonged, had a population of five thousand three hundred and fifty six mulattos, seven hundred and thirty four natives and seventy six Spanish.

The cult to Saint Benedict of Palermo spread rapidly among the enslaved Africans and their descendants, working in the indigo, sugar and tobacco haciendas of the old parish of Ereguayquin. Each village forming part of this parish, which today is separated by the modern political and administrative divisions, had its own peculiarities regarding the cult to Saint Benedict of Palermo. Saint Benedict of Palermo was an Afro-Italian from the 16th century who was informally canonized by the Afro-descendants in the Americas, before Rome did so officially in the 19th century. The cult to this saint was spread by the Franciscan Order in San Salvador.

The colonial style church in the centre of Ereguayquin was built at the beginning of the 18th century and it still preserves part of the structure from those times. In its main altar there is an image of the Black Christ of Esquipulas and at one side that of Saint Benedict of Palermo.

Easy Access. It is located at a distance of 119 Km from the city of San Salvador.
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Other data of interest

El Salvador

Historical name

Ereguayquin, Elenuayquin

Founding Date

There is no founding date, since it was already an indigenous settlement at the time of the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.


Departamento de Usulután , PC: 3401 .

Phone numbers

+503 2627-6024, +503 2627-6025

Fax number

+503 2627-6024, +503 2627-6025

Web link


Human settlement


Workplace Settlement

Access level


Current Use


Original use

Settlement, haciendas

Property kind


Expressions of intangible heritage associated

Currently the most important celebration of Saint Benedict of Palermo in the Eastern area of El Salvador takes place in Ereguayquin. Saint Benedict was born in Messina, Sicily, in the 16th century and was probably the son of an Ethiopian slave. The worship of Saint Benedict was widely disseminated among the black populations of the Americas. Saint Benedict of Palermo was named patron saint of Ereguayquin as of year 2005, by decree of the Diocesan Curia of Santiago de María.

The devotees of Saint Benedict of Palermo pay for the favours received by means of a procession and the Danza de los Tabales, accompanied by a musical group known as Chanchona. During the celebrations the inhabitants of Ereguayquin bring along cows, pigs, hens, maize and coffee since the celebrations last for three days and two nights during the second week of May. The festivities include a series of dances and songs, making reference to the black image, as illustrated by the following verses taken from the Dance of the Tabales in Ereguayquin:

I am a poor Black child

Who has come from niche to niche,

To celebrate Easter

For my father Saint Benedict.

Saint Benedict is my little brother,

Saint Benedict is my little brother,

And I love him because he is small and black,

And I love him because he is small and black.