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El único Panamá - Week 13

Welcome to our weekly series about the uniqueness of Panama!

Semana Santa - one of the busiest holidays of the year!

Easter in Panama is one of the most important events of the Catholic calendar. According to statistics the country is 80% Catholic and 70% attend church. Easter week is a period of reflection when many attend mass, colorful processions and events which happen during the 'Via Crucis' (Stations of the Cross) reenactments. During this week many Panamanians tend to eat fish and seafood as the consumption of meat is prohibited.

Every town has its own way of commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The 'Via Crucis' reenactments, which can be elaborate, take place on Good Friday and are a major part of the customs and traditions in the central provinces. Many have parades with floats, colorful dresses, and religious icons that are carried around. For instance, La Chorrera has a moving reenactment of the Passion of Christ where the community and the church get together to recreate the crucifixion of Jesus. In the small town of Pese, in Herrera province, the famous reenactment of the ‘Via Crucis’, has taken place for more than sixty years. The procession attracts hundreds of pilgrims every year.

The highways and beaches will be filled as people move to the interior to spend time with family and explore the natural and exotic beauty of Panama. Most businesses close on Thursday at noon and do not reopen until Monday morning.

The sale of alcohol in restaurants and markets is prohibited on Good Friday, except for private establishments.

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