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Day 290 of 365 Things To Do in Panama

Day 290 of 365 Things To Do in Panama. Experience Festival del Cristo Negro!

Festival del Cristo Negro (Black Christ Festival) takes place on October 21st in the town of Portobelo.

This has turned into one of the most important religious traditions in Panama. Portobelo is the primary destination for those who make the annual pilgrimage to pay penance and perform acts of devotion. Many wear purple robes walking from far places, some carry a heavy cross in penitence and others arrive on their knees to the Church of San Felipe, home to a wooden statue of the Black Christ.

A special mass is called and later men parade the statue of the Black Christ around the town of Portobelo, this can last for hours, during which music is performed, making the event feel like a parade. At midnight, the statue is returned it its home beside the Golden Alter in the Church of San Felipe.

The celebration began in the late 17th century. There are several tales of how this artifact came to arrive in Panama, all very interesting. Who doesn't love a mystery?

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