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El único Panamá - Week 49

Welcome to our weekly series about the uniqueness of Panama!


Mother's Day is a National Holiday in Panama!

Each year on December 8th, Panama celebrates Mother's Day, honoring women and mothers throughout the country. It is also the same date of the Catholic observance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Public institutions and schools organize observance events bestowing gifts of all kinds, including thank you letters, poems, chocolates and flowers.

There are three versions of the celebration of Mother's Day. One claims Catholic Panamanians wanted the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to be celebrated as a public holiday but faced resistance from the secular population representatives who wanted church and state separate. The compromise was the Celebration of Mother's Day on May 8th.

Another version maintains the celebration of Mother's Day in Panama was a Rotary Club initiative in 1924. The Rotary Club asked the holiday be celebrated on May 11th. However, Panamanian politicians changed the proposal so it would be celebrated on December 8. A decree approved by President Belisario Porras established it an official holiday.

A third version credits the date change to December 8th in 1930 to First Lady Hercilia Arias Velásquez, the wife of the President of Panama at the time, Florencio Harodio Arosemena.

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