Panama will be celebrating their independence this week with parades and festivals. Fiestas Patrias is a Spanish phrase meaning “National Holidays” which the country celebrates during the month of November. There are 3 different days celebrated during this month, here is a little history of each holdiay.

The first day is November 3rd. Panama was founded as a Republic after it separated from Colombia on November 3, 1903. Here it gets a little confusing. In Panama this day is not called Independence Day but rather “Separation Day”, indicating the country’s separation from Colombia.

The next holiday sometimes confuses foreigners. On the 10th of November we celebrate “el grito de la independencia” which means the “call for independence” in La Villa of Los Santos.

The last holiday celebrated this month is November 28th. Panama was a part of Colombia when Colombia obtained independence from Spain on the 28th of November, 1821. This day is called independence day..

On November 3rd you can see parades held in both Calle 50 and Via Espana simultaneously. I don’t know exactly at what time they start but I’m pretty sure they run through 9:00am until about 7:00 pm. If you drive through these avenues you can see them decorated with the national flag and colors (red, white, and blue.) Most schools in Panama have a band and participate in these parades. A characteristic of these parades are children playing patriotic songs, baton girls and children wearing the traditional panamanian dress La Pollera (for girls) and El Monturno (for boys) and small food stands virtually everywhere.

It’s a pretty nice experience to see the parades but I strongly recommend if you’re going to take an umbrella. The one thing you can count on in Panama in November is rain, and it rains on the parade almost every year.

This excerpt is from the Panama Guide, the link to the original article is here: http://www.panama-guide.com/article.php/20041101202820189

So, another November is upon us, and with it… parades. I have only been in Panama for one November – the month of relentless celebrating – but now I am living in a different place, so am wondering how different the festivities will be. One thing about Panama, is they love parades. There are parades for everything. And the only thing more relentless than the parades is the PRACTICING for the parades. Lol. Parades here are taken very seriously and there is always lots of marching bands, including horn playing and a lot of drumming. So, all year round there is always practicing in school yards, vacant lots and often in the street in the evenings. They have parades for children, workers, separating from Columbia, Columbia separating from Spain, opening a new restaurant, a child being born. If someone farts in Panama, there will be a parade to celebrate it.

Don’t get me wrong, the parades are nice and it is great to see that everyone is so patriotic. There are always a lot of people standing on the street watching them go by. Today being November 3rd was supposed to be one of the biggest and Panama is celebrating its separation from Columbia. Although I didn’t attend we could hear it waking up this morning and, as far as I can tell, it is still going. I suspect it will continue until about the 27th of November.

 

Here is an article written by an American student who visited Panama with his friends during Fiesta Patrias…

http://www.thepanamareport.com/information/about/fiestas-patrias-in-panama.html

I will write more as the festivities continue…. but happy fiesta patrias to you!