A Panama Christmas
As December is upon us and millions of people all over the world are getting prepared for the holidays, Mother’s Day and Christmas Day.
If wondering how the Christmas celebration is like where there’s no snow … here’s what Christmas looks like in Panama.
In Panama, the Christmas holiday begins as early as December 8th – the day of Mother Mary, which is celebrated in commemoration of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, parades are held all over the country, with the statues of Mother Mary carried down the streets. Children are beautifully dressed, with the girls in white dresses and adorned with little angel wings.
In the days that follow, families begin to set up their nativity scenes (Nacimiento) and Christmas trees in preparation for the big day. And, on the eve of Christmas day, Panama families get busy cooking delicious meals for the Christmas day festivities, and cleaning and decorating their homes to receive family and friends.
There is no set in stone meals for the Panama Christmas food. However, a lot of Panamanian families would prepare a variety of dishes, which usually include Arroz Dulce (a sweet rice pudding with coconut raising), Tamales (a corn-paste meal boiled in plantain leaves), and Arroz Con Guandu (a legume dish served with rice). Pavo (Turkey), Relleno (Stuffing), and Fruitcakes are also regulars on the Christmas menu.
Seco is Panama’s National alcoholic drink and is distilled from sugarcane. This is most popular in rural areas, where it’s often mixed with milk.
On Christmas Day, the celebrations begin at midnight. Families gather to have a feast when the clock strikes 12 a.m., and at dawn, most families go to church for the Christmas worship. The rest of the Christmas day is spent with family members and friends, eating, drinking, dancing, spending time at the beach and playing games.
Christmas in Panama is about spending time with family and friends, other activities such as Christmas carols and holiday concerts are also held. Christmas parades adore the streets with hundreds of locals and visitors in attendance; marching, singing, dancing, and generally having fun. The parades are often held at the Cinta Costera, sometimes into the night, with beautiful fireworks lighting up the sky.
The festivity does not end on December 25th in Panama. On January 6th, Dia de Los Reyes (The Three Kings Day) is celebrated, which is an annual festival to celebrate the Epiphany. This feast marks the adoration of baby Jesus by the three Wise Men, and children in Panama receive more presents. Also, a traditional meal depicting a King’s crown, known as the Rosca De Reyes, is prepared for this holiday.
Panama Christmas is an unforgettable experience that is experienced fully in the beauty of the country.