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Day 349 of 365 Things To Do in Panama

Day 349 of 365 Things To Do in Panama. Make a "Judas Doll" or "Muñeco"!

Shortly before Christmas, life size 'dolls' appear along the Interamerican Highway. It is a Panamanian New Year’s tradition and can be found in front of homes all across the country. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve the life size mannequins, muñecos, as they are called, are exploded – some people burn them but exploding seems more fun – symbolically saying goodbye to the old year. It is to keep the fights, the gossip, the evil and memories in the past. The muñecos can symbolize people they love or don’t care for; movie stars, politicians, sports figures, a family member or friend. Heads can be made of coconuts, pumpkins, Paper Mache, Barbies, etc. Stuff the muñeco clothing with combustible material (newspaper, straw, dried leaves) with strategically placed fireworks.

Burning the old starts the New Year with a clean slate making it fresh and new again.

This tradition is so popular that a competition between the communities of Chame and San Carlos takes place every year at the Jardin Popular of Sajalices in Chame, 4:00 p.m. the maker of the best Judas could win $300.

Enter the competition or just come by and check it out!

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