Panama loves to celebrate, and the celebrations are very elaborate. On Monday, I woke up to the sound of drumming and loud cheering on the street. It was Separation Day and the fiesta was already in full swing by the time I was sipping my java.
I live on Avenida Balboa, one of the main streets in Panama. My apartment has a direct view of the ocean and overlooks the popular esplanade called Cinta Costera, where many of the holiday festivities were taking place. When I looked out my window, I saw hundreds of people gathered on the Cinta Costera and on the five lanes of the closed roads. Marching bands filled the length the of the street. Some people were walking, some were dancing, and the Panamanian flag was everywhere.
As I watched the festivities from my balcony, I was taken by the beauty of it. Everything was perfect, from the outfits to the music to the overall spirit of the day. The festive atmosphere was contagious, and I couldn't wait to be part of the fun.
In most countries, one day of celebration would have been enough, but in Panama, they continue to celebrate with music and parades for three full days. Each day, there were more people on the Cinta Costera celebrating, and every night ended with a spectacular display of fireworks.
Panama's many holidays in November tell a story of how the country of Panama got to where it is today. There are really three main holidays in early November on the third, fourth and fifth, but Panama includes the weekend prior for a full five days of celebration.
- November 3 is Separation Day, to commemorate when Panama became independent and separated from Colombia.
- November 4 is Flag day, to celebrate Panama's independence. Every house, car, shopping mall, building and schools had the Panamanian flag on it.
- November 5 is Colon Day in honor of the day Cristobal Colon arrived in the Americas. (Westerners know as Cristobal Colon as Christopher Columbus) .
After five days of celebration, Panama was back to work on November 6 for a two-day workweek. But the next holiday is right around the corner. After two full workdays, Panama celebrates its independence from Spain with another long weekend. It's good to live in Panama!