Panama is a land of variety, as is evident by its unique Christmas traditions. Christmas Traditions in Panama blend Latin American and Caribbean customs into an experience which is uniquely Panamanian. Although similar to those in other Western nations, its holiday celebrations stand out with their own distinct characteristics.
Christmas holidays in Panama, known as Christmas Traditions in Panama, are an especially joyful time. Many take more than a week off of work, while business generally slows down nationwide. Christmas provides us all an opportunity to connect with family and friends, enjoy delicious foods, dance in celebration of festivities, exchange presents, and welcome in a New Year!
Days prior to Christmas, families come together to decorate their houses so they can welcome Baby Jesus in an attractive environment. Additionally, many purchase a tree and decorate it with multicolored lights.
Panamanians traditionally celebrate Christmas Eve by hosting an elaborate dinner in their homes, featuring turkey, ham or beef dishes with rice accompanied by guandu (pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk) and tamales as main courses. Some families also prepare rosca de huevo (ring shaped egg bread) as a festive tradition and sip on rum punch before midnight when fireworks illuminate the sky and everyone exchanges “Feliz Navidad!” greetings.
Panamanian families traditionally create Nativity scenes to remember Jesus Christ’s birth, often placing these displays within their home or outside on porches or balconies – sometimes public places as well. Although Panama is an inclusive society and does not discriminate against any religion, its predominant faith remains Catholicism.
On Christmas Day, most families open gifts at night and visit each other’s houses, while some choose to attend mass while others choose to rest and unwind from an active and festive season.
For those that do not subscribe to any religious traditions, Christmas Day is a day for enjoying leftovers from Christmas Eve, visiting beaches or parks, and making time to be with loved ones – something Panamanians take great joy in doing.
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Customs and Traditions of Christmas in Panama
Panama celebrates Christmas with an eclectic mixture of customs originating in Latin America and North American culture, from elaborate nativity scenes to festive parades – it’s an occasion where families come together and the Panamanian spirit truly shines!
On December 8th, Panamanian Christmas typically begins with Mother’s Day celebrations across the country, when sons and daughters from all corners travel far and wide to celebrate Mothers with gifts, traditional dishes and free time from chores. Nativity scenes also usually make an appearance; many generations keep this tradition alive today.
On Christmas Eve, tables across Panama are filled with Christmas Traditions in Panama, featuring traditional holiday foods like ham and turkey as well as signature Panamanian dishes like tamales, pan de rosca, rice with guandu, and other delectable treats. A big jug of ponche de ron (rum punch) adds an additional celebratory flair.
Children eagerly anticipate opening their gifts. In some Panamanian homes, this occurs on Christmas itself while for others the presents arrive later during Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes (King’s Day) celebrations in January. Some Panamanians use this holiday celebration as the final chapter in a month long festival to blast and burn paper mache dolls of celebrities, politicians or rivals whom have caused them discomfort during the year.
Christmas in Panama is also an exceptionally festive and colorful occasion, as many locals decorate their houses and businesses with festive, brightly-lit decor, as well as lighting up streets, small towns and big cities with gorgeous lighting displays – such as on Bocas del Toro Island in the Caribbean Sea!
Panamanians are just as passionate about holiday decorations as anyone else around the globe, adorning their houses with brightly decorated trees adorned with multicolored lights and lanterns. Most grocery stores sell live trees; however it is common to find plastic ones which look almost identical to real trees.
At Christmas markets in cities and small villages across Panama you will find vendors selling handmade gifts and festive decorations – an ideal opportunity to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs from Panama for family back home.
Spending Christmas in Panama can be an unforgettable and exhilarating experience, with so much to see and do – sure to offer something for every member of the family.
Are you tired of shoveling snow and drinking eggnog for Christmas? A Panamanian Christmas is the perfect solution if you prefer celebrating with warm weather, tropical drinks and delicious foods!
Expedia Travel’s staff have written this article on Christmas Traditions in Panama, originally published December 2013. Expedia has an incredible selection of flights and hotels available for Christmas 2014 travel – find your ideal deal using our price comparison tool and start planning today!
The Significance of Christmas As a Family Holiday in Panama
Panama celebrates Christmas in an eclectic blend of European traditions and Latin American culture, known for being festive celebrations among family and friends. Christmas holds special meaning for many families worldwide and for most this means attending midnight mass and exchanging gifts as part of its tradition.
As Panama is predominantly Catholic, families celebrate Christmas with great meaning and take it seriously. Most will decorate their homes and prepare a Christmas Eve dinner of tamales or the Panamanian Christmas bread known as rosca de pan (made up of banana leaves stuffed with corn dough filled with raisins, peppers, coriander seeds, olives and chicken or pork stew); both traditional fare from rich to poor families alike and must make an appearance at every Panamanian table during this holiday.
Panamanians celebrate Christmas Traditions in Panama on December 8 by hosting an all-relatives luncheon to honor Mother, Grandmothers, and Aunts during Christmas celebrations. Children visit their elderly relatives to bring gifts and food. On Christmas Day itself (December 24), all the relatives gather together for a traditional family meal that everyone celebrates together.
Panamanians place great emphasis on decorating and preparing for Christmas, from food to decorations and preparations. Families typically place Nativity scenes both inside their home and along the street to remember Christ’s birth, with modern adaptations including Santa Clauses and Christmas songs added as additions.
Christmas for many means spending it with their loved ones and close acquaintances. Panama is known for being an inclusive society and expats will find that its locals are just as welcoming and warm as their family back home in America.
Not only is Panama at Christmas great because of its warm weather, but you can also celebrate without the worry of snow or ice! Now that the cold season has ended, lush green lawns have turned crunchy brown attracting jungle animals like sloths and armadillos to drink from them; swimming beaches have opened back up allowing swimming for everyone including children; beaches have great swimming conditions perfect for everyone – including kids; only thing that could improve things further would be spiked eggnog and fireplace!