"Fiestas Patrias" in Panama: November is a month of celebration

“Fiestas Patrias” in Panama: November is a month of celebration

Oct 14, 2018 | Panama Arts/Culture

If you’ve ever experienced the month of November in Panama, you know that it is unlike any other month of the year when it comes to experience. November is the “mes de la patria”, or “patriotic month” in English, where most of the country’s non-religious national holidays are held. This means that it’s an incredibly important month to both the people and businesses of Panama, as well as the government and the entire country’s infrastructure. Panama celebrates 5 official holidays during November, with many of the days in between taken as de-facto, or “bridge” holidays to make them longer. There are two official Independence Days (one from Colombia, and one from Spain), a flag day, and a number of days that commemorate battles that all lead to the country’s independence. Here are some things that will help you navigate and better understand Panama’s patriotic holiday season.

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Everything (almost) is closed, and that’s a very important aspect to Panama’s working class

Part of the nature of the Fiestas Patrias is to give the entire nation of Panama the chance to take some time off work and celebrate. Now, obviously, this isn’t entirely possible, as certain businesses and services simply can’t close due to demand. That being said, however, you’ll find that almost all non-tourist-related businesses or essential services will be closed for each of the holidays throughout the month. This may seem like an inconvenience to you, but it’s a very well-earned break for the country’s millions of hard workers. Having time off work allows these Panamanians to travel to visit family, participate in the country’s parades, and take time off to rest and reflect on their rights and pride as citizens.

People love to party during these holidays, so be patient with noise and crowds

Panamanians (in general) love to celebrate, and the November holidays are a perfect example of that. You will find large, family-style parties in pretty much every neighborhood, town, and city in the country. They are loud, boisterous, and full of cheer, and are part of what makes Panama fun and culturally interesting. If you go with the flow, you’ll find you’ll have a much easier time during this period. Enjoy the dancing and salsa music, the BBQs, and the family fun in parks, beaches, and neighborhood squares. It’s all part of the charm, and a great source of pride for Panama’s people and infrastructure in general.

If you plan on traveling, plan ahead, and be ready for long lines and traffic

Panama’s population is largely, and disproportionally centered in Panama City, yet most of the city’s residents have family and roots in the interior of the country. Well, when you have a month full of holidays where everyone’s off work, that means a huge rush into the country’s outer provinces and the city’s outer suburbs is inevitable. This means that traffic is typically at its worst, and public transportation, car rentals, flights, and buses are either full or unavailable due to lack of space. If you haven’t already planned a holiday escape, we recommend staying right where you are. The chance of finding a last-minute seat on a plane/bus or a hotel without prior reservation is practically 0. But don’t worry, there’s probably lots of celebrations going on right where you are!

Go check out the patriotic parades

Lastly, if you’re going to fully enjoy Panama’s Fiestas Patrias, it’s well worth it to go to one of the hundreds of parades throughout the country. Young Panamanian marching bands practice all year for November, and take their music, marches, and costumes with great pride throughout the month. You will be swept away by both traditional and modern music, get to see the youth at their best, and share in the patriotic pride alongside Panamanians, all month long. Parades typically start in the morning, and go until early afternoon. We recommend going to a few different neighborhoods or local areas to see a variety of them, and make sure to get their early!

International Relocation Firm Staff Writer

International Relocation Firm Staff Writer

As one of the leading Panama Law Firms, and one of the regions most reliable service providers, International Relocation Firm brings a wide range of professional knowledge to our clients needs. Our staff is made up of professional consultants, Panama attorneys and immigration specialists who are experienced in international relocation, and are experts in providing a seamless Panama immigration process.

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