National Pupusa Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Pupusa is a thick griddle cake or flatbread like a tortilla filled with beans, meats and other deliciousness is a national dish in the country of El Salvador and makes an important part in the cuisine of this Central American country. 

This delicious and national dish of the country is honored annually in the form of National Pupusa Day which falls annually on every second Sunday of November in El Salvador. This year it falls on 13th November. 

The National Pupusa Day celebration was enacted by a Legislative decree in 2005. The same year the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly officially declared pupusas the national dish of El Salvador. 

Event National Pupusa Day
Date November 12, 2022
Day Saturday
Significance The day celebrates and honors the Pupusa and people’s love for it
Observed by United States


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National Pupusa Day History: 

El Salvador and Honduras both claim to be the birthplace of the pupusa. Salvadoran archeologist Roberto Ordóñez attributed the creation of the pupusa to the Pipil people due to the name meaning ‘swollen’ in the Pipil language. Honduran etymologists say that since the Pipil language is so close to the Nahuatl language, the Nahuas of Honduras could have created the dish. However, no direct links have been made to the community. So putting all the dispute aside this delicious treat makes an important part of the El Salvadorian cuisine and that’s why even named the national dish of the country. 

A version of the Pre-Columbian pupusa was vegetarian and half-moon shaped. In the late 1940s, pupusas were still not widespread across El Salvador and were mostly localized in the central towns. They were documented previously in Guatemala and Honduras. As the Salvadorian population began migrating to other areas in the 1960s, pupusa stands proliferated across the country. In Guatemala during the 1970s, pupusas had a half-moon shape. Pupusas served east of the Lempa River usually have a much larger diameter. 

In the 1980s, the Salvadoran civil war forced a Salvadoran migration to other countries, mainly the United States, which made pupusas available elsewhere: Salvadoran immigrants brought the dish to most areas of the US, and they spread to Canada and Australia as well. By the 1990s, they were common in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Pupusas have been popular in Washington, D.C., since the 1980s and in 2019, November 6 was declared the day of the pupusa. 

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In April 2005, the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly declared pupusas as the national dish of El Salvador and every second Sunday of November would be National Pupusas Day. A fair is typically held on the day in the capital and a few big cities. On 10 November 2007, in celebration of National Pupusa Day, the Secretary of Culture organized a fair in the capital park in which they would make the world’s biggest pupusa. The pupusa was 3.15 meters (10.3 ft) in diameter and was made with 200 pounds (91 kg) of masa, 40 pounds (18 kg) of cheese, and 40 pounds of chicharrón. It fed 5,000 people. Five years later, the record was broken again with a pupusa 4.25 meters (13.9 ft) in diameter. 

National Pupusa Day Significance: 

A pupusa is a thick griddle cake or flatbread from El Salvador and Honduras, made with cornmeal or rice flour, similar to the Venezuelan and Colombian arepa. It is usually stuffed with one or more ingredients, which may include cheese (such as quesillo or cheese with loroco buds), chicharrón, squash, or refried beans. It is typically accompanied by curtido (a spicy fermented cabbage slaw) and tomato salsa, and is traditionally eaten by hand. Both at home and abroad, pupusas are traditionally served with curtido (a pickled cabbage relish, analogous to German Sauerkraut and Korean kimchi that comes in mild and spicy varieties) and tomato sauce, and are traditionally eaten by hand. 

A variant of the pupusa in El Salvador is the pupusa de arroz, originally hailing from the town of Olocuilta in the east of San Salvador. Rice flour is used to make the dough and they are usually stuffed with chopped pork, cheese, beans, zucchini, and other vegetables. Pupusas made in the United States are typically made with Maseca (brand) commercial corn flour-masa mix,[citation needed] instead of fresh masa. Some high-end pupuserías in the United States use rice flour and wheat flour versions. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, variations include using spinach, pepperoni, cheese, and green chile. 

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Prior to the 1960s, pupusas were mainly eaten in El Salvador. But as people began to migrate out of the country due to political violence or crime, pupusas started popping up in Latin American restaurants around the world. So now you can find these pupusas in every major cities of the world and are continuously becoming more and more popular in our world. All pupusas are basically made the same way with a thick corn flatbread reminiscent of a tortilla and stuffed with the filling of your choice. Traditionally, your filling will be cheese, meat, fish, beans, or veggies. Serve up a side portion of curtido, a spicy cabbage relish similar to a tangy coleslaw or sauerkraut.

In spite of their low market price, pupusas represent an important element in the economy of El Salvador. Pupusa sales play a significant role in the Salvadoran economy. According to the Salvadoran Ministry of Economy between the years of 2001–2003, pupuserias generated $22 million. The export of ingredients such as loroco has also helped boost the economy. In 2005, for example, US$604,408 worth of loroco, sometimes used as a pupusa filling, was sold to the United States alone. 

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National Pupusa Day Celebrations: 

Attending a Pupusa Day Festival is a fun thing to do during this day. Many municipalities in El Salvador have special celebrations to commemorate this day. These events have live music and offer plenty of games for kids. Also, they have plenty of activities for all visitors, including the popular Pupusa eating contests. 

An excellent way to celebrate National Pupusa Day is to go out with family or friends and eat some Pupusas. If you are in El Salvador, finding a Pupuseria will not be a problem; they are everywhere! If you are outside El Salvador, look for an authentic Salvadoran restaurant near you and enjoy some tasty Pupusas. 

Making Pupusas yourself is another fun thing to do on this particular Sunday. It is not that difficult to do. Many families, or friends, use this day as a reason to get together and spend time having fun and eating Pupusas. This will also be a nice way to test your cooking skills as well and can be very useful in the case you are struggling to find authentic pupusas in your place. 

Most Searched  FAQs on National Pupusa Day: 

1. When is National Pupusa Day celebrated? 

National Pupusa Day is annually celebrated on every second Sunday of November in El Salvador. 

2. What do you do on National Pupusa Day? 

On National Pupusa Day, you can attend a pupusa festival and enjoy the many activities. You can also visit an authentic Salvadoran restaurant or make some Pupusas yourself. 

3. What do you eat with pupusas? 

Curdito is the traditional accompaniment, a cabbage and carrot-based coleslaw/salad that is sometimes spicy and usually contains vinegar.

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