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Panama Holidays And Traditions

“It’s remarkable, really, that anything ever gets done in this country at all,” Lief commented this morning as we stood on our balcony looking out at the quiet and empty streets all around.

We are (finally) at the end of Panama’s protracted holiday season, which begins Nov. 3, when Panamanians celebrate Independence Day (for the first time…this one commemorating their independence from Colombia).

Nov. 4 is Flag Day, followed by Colon Day on Nov. 5. Government offices and banks open again on the 6th, only to shut their doors on Nov. 10 to celebrate Independence Day (again…this one remembering the first call for independence from Spain).

Nov. 28 is Independence Day number three (this one celebrating freedom from Spain).

Dec. 8 is Mother’s Day, serious holiday in this country, when, again, all businesses and most shops are closed so everyone can spend the day with Mom.

The country shuts down for Christmas on Dec. 24 and 25, for New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, and then again on Jan. 9 for Martyr’s Day.

Panama’s biggest party of the year, Carnaval, takes place Feb. 13 to 16 (though, in fact, the celebrating extends for a full week at least).

Today, Good Friday, marks the official end. We’ve only stood on the sidelines watching all the celebrating and holidaying that has taken place all around us over the past five months, but we’re exhausted and look forward to getting back to business full-time, holiday-free, starting Monday.

“Not so fast,” points out Panama Editor Rebecca Tyre. “Don’t forget the Labor Day holiday weekend the first of May…”

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