While the local Spanish vernacular is called Caliche, Nahua, the indigenous language, is still used by small communities of elderly Salvadorans in western El Salvador. Two completely different cultures have meshed into one beautiful people. Many Spanish who settled the country intermarried with the Natives and thus the main group is made of ‘mestizos’ (mixed European and Native blood). Only 9% are pure European, usually belonging to the wealthiest families; and the remaining 1% are native Indian. The largest Native group is the Pipíl. They continue to believe in the traditional gods.
Here in the country of El Salvador, traditional gender roles still prevail as the men are known to go to work, get paid, while women stay at home, take care of children, and the house duties. From birth, girls and boys are taught that they are different and will grow to have contrasting roles in society. In the last decade, the country has started to see a shift in this belief, as women have taken up jobs as nurses and teachers, but machismo is still deeply rooted.
In this small beach town, there is more of a relaxing feel. Since a lot of different types of people come for the surf, many cultures mingle in this space, making grounds for a more progressive lifestyle and point of view. Many people are travelers, backpackers, and surf enthusiast, so they are not as concerned about cultural norms.
When greeting someone, it is still considered customary to shake hands. As a man, you wait until a woman extends her hand to give her a greeting; women who are close might hug and kiss on the right cheek. It is customary to bring gifts of flowers, pastries, or spirits when going to someone’s house. It is normal that the gift would be unwrapped or looked at right when received as a sign of appreciation.