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El único Panamá - Week 7

Welcome to our weekly series about the uniqueness of Panama!

Carnaval in Panama!

Most of us have heard about the amazing celebrations of Carnaval that take place in Brazil. However, this joyous festive event is celebrated throughout Latin America and Panama takes this holiday seriously. I’ve heard it said it is second to Brazil. It begins four to five days leading up to Ash Wednesday. Many businesses, including the government, will close the entire time because people flock to the interior of Panama to eat, drink and party until the sun comes up. This year it was reported 128, 307 vehicles headed to the interior within the first two days. The government spends over $2M to help fund the country wide festival.

The Carnival in Las Tablas is one of the most recognized events in Panama. The traditional rivalry between Calle Arriba (high street) and Calle Abajo (low street) occurs as each side chooses their own queen who competes to triumph over the other for the most extravagant costumes, most creative floats, music, dances and fireworks.

Almost every town in Panama hosts their own Carnival celebration with the same exuberance. In the city of Penonomé, the parade of queens is held on the Zarati River and is known for its dance performances in the water.

Don’t forget the culecos, street meat and cerveza! During the hot days of Carnaval getting sprayed with water from tanker trucks, squirt guns and hoses is refreshing. In the streets you can dance, eat and drink until your heart’s content with options of grilled chicken chorizo (sausage) on a stick, plantains, beer, water and soda.

This is a unique celebration you won’t’ soon forget!

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