November 4 is the Panamanian Flag day, a national holiday. It is one of a series of holidays called Fiestas Patrias.
To see the largest flag in the country, look at the flag flown on Ancon hill. It doesn’t look very big when you see it from the roadways around the hill. But when you realize that this flag is the size of a basketball court, 10 by 15 meters, it boggles the mind.
The flag has been flown there permanently since October 1977. It is constantly whipped by the wind and makes a beautiful picture when the wind makes it stand straight out. Of course that batters the fabric so it has to be replaced. Imagine lifting and folding a basketball-sized piece of fabric. There are laws that regulate the proper handling of the flag.
Students notice the lines of flags on the balcony and hung in some classrooms. They notice the many places and occasions where the flag is displayed throughout the country and ask questions. Yes, each part has meaning.
The flag is made of two white rectangles, and one blue and one red rectangle. The blue represented the conservative party and the red, the liberal party. White represents purity and peace. The blue star stands for purity and honesty and the red star stands for the authority and law in the country. Together the stars stand for the new Republic. Both stars have 5 points.
When flown, the upper, pole position is the white field with a blue star, the blue field is on the lower pole position. The red field is top and away from the pole, the white rectangle with a red star is below that field.
Before independence, the blue field was top, pole side but when the colors were assigned to political parties after independence, the white field was placed in the upper position.
Maria de la Ossa de Amador sewed the first flag in 1903, based on a sketch by Manuel Amador Guerrero’s son, Manuel Encarnación Amador. The design was officially adopted in 1925.
Prior to this design, there were many others proposed. Some were variations of the United States flag but rejected as too similar. The design adopted reflects the Panamanian political situation as it existed in 1910.
When the national flag becomes faded, torn or otherwise reaches the end of functional life, it is to be burned in a solemn ceremony.
Flags are displayed in schools, governmental buildings, many churches, and at various functions. Panamanians are proud of their flag, a symbol of country and independence.