El Cipitio

This Legends is commonly known in the Central American Country of El Salvador. It is a bit of an urban legend, or horror story, especially popular among the lower class, in the “cantones” or slums. These are usually told to kids, and are passed down orally.

Context: This story was told to me by R, a family member of mine/ He grew up in El Salvador, and spend the majority of his life there. I am hearing his variation of the story, and although there are slight regional variations, they usually are very similar. This specific version is from the Sonsonate region.


“El Cipitio se te aprecia como un niño de aspecto infantil, de unos 10 años de edad. Era bajito con una gran panza, y que lleva un gran sombrero. Solo los niños pueden verlo. El tiene la habilidad de viajar de un lugar a otro, teleportando, porque tiene poderes mágicos y se dice que disfruta comer ceniza o guineos majonchos.El Cipitío es bien travieso y juguetón. A el le gusta aparecerse en casas con hornillas de leña para comer ceniza, o lanzar piropos a las mujeres que se bañan en los ríos. Se cree que el papa del Ciptio es Dios Sol”


“Cipitio appears to you as a childish-looking boy, about 10 years old. He was short with a big belly, and he wore a big hat. Only children can see him. He has the ability to travel from one place to another, teleporting, because he has magical powers and it is said that he enjoys eating ash or big bananas. Cipitío is very naughty and playful. He likes to appear in houses with wood stoves to eat ash, or compliment the women he meets. They bathe in the rivers. It is believed that the Pope of Cyptio is the Sun God.”

Analysis/YOUR interpretation: El Cipitio is an urban legend about a boyish looking humanoid, that appears only to children. He is very popular throughout EL Salvador, and is tale told by many in the country. He typically is seen doing various devious acts and overall mcsihhvious behavior.

This is a form of regional legend, that circulated among primary impoverished regions of the country. While a very normal topic in El Salvador, the tales usually simulate throughout the slums that border forests and the wooded areas. According to R, there are some theories as to its origin. Perhaps the largest and most believed one is that el Cipitio is some result of hybridization. That is he is actually the colonial interpretation of pre hispanic indigenous deity. His connection to the Nahuatl sun god, and the colonial attire he is depicted as wearing in his artistic depictions point to this, and make it clear that el Cipitio has some sort of connection to the colonial period. There have been many adaptations of this tale that have been dispersed in authors literature, movies and art, but they all stem from this narrative oral tradition.