Feliz Navidad! It’s Christmas in Panama!
Today's post is a guest post written by Betsi of BetsiWorld.com I am excited to have her share from her travels through the Caribbean what Christmas is like in Panama. – Katie
Kickoff to the Climax of Christmas
December 8 begins the celebrations leading up to Christmas in Panama. Some of the children dress as angels with wings for the parades that take place across the country.
Families set up their nativity scenes. Lots of their nativity sets have been passed down from generation to generation. Unlike celebrations in the United States and other nations, the Christmas tree is not a central part of celebrations for Panamanians. The family is the central theme for Christmas.
Christmas Eve Celebration
Families are busy getting their homes ready for the big Christmas Eve party. Everybody helps to prepare the food for the feast, and cleanthe house for visits from family and friends. Lots of yummy food is made; Pavo (turkey) and Relleno (stuffing) along with Arroz dulce and Tamales (a cornmeal past with sauce, meats, prunes, spices, and capers wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled). For dessert, almost every table has fruitcake.
The big celebration begins when the clock strikes midnight. A massive feast featuring Pavo, Relleno, and Arroz dulce with tamales, will be on the table, along with other favorite family dishes.
After eating all the delicious food, the whole family goes outside to continue the party. Music and dancing fill the streets, and fireworks light up the night sky. Visits with family and friends are the highlight of the celebration.
Christmas Day Worship
Christmas Day is quiet. Families spend the morning in worship at the local church in worship. After church, families visit with friends and family as they laugh, eat and have family fun.
Gift Giving on Epiphany
Epiphany, or “Dia de Los Reyes” known as Kings Day, is the day the children get gifts. Panamanians love to celebrate the Christmas holidays eating, drinking, singing and having fun hanging out with their family and friends.
In the outlying towns, decorations are simple. They decorate trees in the squares with bows and ribbon. There may be strings of lights across the square. Homes are decorated with natural materials and a few ribbons and bows.
Christmas Brings Families Together
Christmas is a time to spend time with family. Activities are family-centric, and everyone, young and old participates. Food unites the family, and music always accompanies the celebrations.
Christmas in Panama is all about family. Christmas is a time for family togetherness and to celebrate family!
Betsi Hill is a professional travel writer, residing in Fort Pierce, FL, when she's not on board her Catamaran Gypsea. At BetsiWorld.com you'll find her blogging about creating, writing, food, taking photos, and exploring the old and new in and around Florida and the Caribbean. You can follow her adventures visually on Instagram or Twitter.