The beginning of November sets off a full month of celebrations throughout Panama, but especially in the Los Santos region which is the heartbeat of Panamanian folklore and tradition. In November, Panama celebrates two separate independence days. So pretty much the whole month is a party and a celebration of authentic Panamanian culture.
It starts with Fiestas Patrias on November 3rd and 4th that commemorate independence from Colombia in 1903. In Pedasi, we celebrated with a parade complete with dancers and a drumline. Later there was a party and games in the park. The entire town was covered in Panamanian flags.
Later in the month, Pedasi celebrated Santa Catalina, its patron saint. It was a week filled with masses, the rosary and finally a procession through the town square.
Throughout the entire province there were festivals and celebrations every weekend, but Pedasi’s largest celebration was the Desfile de Carretas. It starts Friday night with the coronation party for Pedasi’s reina. Then on Saturday, it was a large parade and day long festival that celebrates Pedasi. Many different schools or organizations have a decorated cart in the parade. Everyone, including extraneros, are encouraged to dress in authentic clothes. At the end, they let a bull loose to run through the streets. The kids loved watching the dancers go by, but Asher’s favorite part was watching them shoot fireworks into the air.
Although they say it’s the “slow life” here, there is always entertainment. Now that we’re exhausted from a month long celebration, it’s time to celebrate Christmas!