National Holidays in Panama
By Penny de Vine
With another weekend of national holidays upon us this Friday (Good Friday) and Easter Sunday, I thought it might be a good opportunity to write about (the many) National Holidays in Panama.
Most Panamanians, depending on where they live and work, observe around 16 National Holidays each year. That´s quite a few more when compared with Canada (around 10), the US (around 13), the UK (around 10) and Australia (around 10) (again, depending on where people live and work).
So, just what holidays are observed in Panama in 2014?
January 1 – New Years´ day/Año Nuevo en panamá. This day marks the start of the year.
January 13 – Martyrs´ day/Dia del Martir. This day commemorates the 1964 riots in the Canal zone.
March 3, 4, 5 – Panama Carnival/Carnaval en panamá. This is a festive season, full of fireworks, parades, dancing, music, eating and drinking, held before Lent (6 weeks before Easter).
March 18 – Good Friday/Veirnes Santo. This day marks the crucifixión of Christ.
May 1 – Labor Day/May Day/Dia del Trabajo. Originally a celebration of Spring, this day also celebrates the achievements of workers.
August 15 – Foundation of Old Panama City/Aniversario de Panama La Vieja. This day marks when Panama City was founded in 1519.
November 3 – Independence Day/Separation Day/Dia de la Independencia. This day celebrates Panama´s Independence/Separation from Colombia, which occured in 1903.
November 4 – Panama Flag Day/Dia de la Bandera. This day commemorates the adoption of the national flag of Panama in 1925.
November 5 – Colon Day/Conmemoracion Patriotica en la Ciudad de Colon. This day marks the day Colombian forces stationed in Colon were persuaded to allow Panama´s separation from Colombia.
November 10 – Shout in Villa de los Santos/Grito en la Villa de los Santos. This day celebrates the first call (shout) for Panama´s Independence from Spain in 1821.
November 28 –Panama Independence from Spain/Independencia de España. This day marks Panama´s Independence from Spain in 1821.
December 1 – Day off for Independence from Spain/Independenica de España.
December 8 – Mothers Day/Dia de la Madre. A day to celebrate and appreciate mothers.
December 25 – Christmas Day/Navidad. Today marks the birth of Christ.
There are also a few half day holidays observed throughout the year, including Maunday Thursday (the day before good Friday), Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.
As you can see, a lot of these holidays fall sequentially and people have many days off work in a row (and some people take more days off, in additional to the national holidays). Depending on the holiday, many people leave the City and head to the interior to visit family and friends, or just to get away and recharge. At these times, the City can turn into a bit of a “ghost town” and most major stores are closed, so it´s a good idea to complete any errands well ahead of time. Most major supermarkets, as well as local “chinos” (small grocery/convenience stores) are still open on most National Holidays (albeit with reduced trading hours), so there’s generally no need to worry about stocking up on groceries. Although, on some holidays it is illegal to sell alcohol. So if you need to, stock up on that ahead of time. There are generally fewer taxis on the roads during holidays and they may try to charge you more, but you can certainly still get around relatively easily. If you are staying in the City during these quieter times, it’s a great opportunity to get out and about and enjoy the almost serene, traffic-less surroundings! On the other hand, if you’re in the City for holidays such as Carnival, the streets can be full of people as Panama enjoys big celebrations of fireworks, parades, music, eating and drinking. These events are not to be missed as they are unique, high energy and a lot of fun!
Happy Easter from Panama, everyone! ¡Feliz Pascua de Panamá, todo el mundo!
*Please note that this information was correct at time of publication and should be used as a guide only. Actual holidays observed can vary in different parts of the country and can also depend on where you´re employed. It is often the case that when there is a holiday celebrated mid-week the government (at the last minute) changes the holiday to the following Monday so that people may have … yet another long weekend.
Penny de Vine is an Australian teaching English classes in Panama City at Spanish Panama Language School. She has many years experience teaching English as a second language to groups and individuals in Japan, Guatemala and Panama. Penny has a love of travel and has visited almost 20 different countries throughout Asia, South America, North America and Central America.
Spanish Panama is a Canadian-Panamanian run language school located in El Cangrejo, on the best corner of Via Argentina. The school has a 13 year history of teaching Spanish in Panama City. The school now offers Spanish, Portugese and English classes for groups and individuals wanting to learn a language for conversational, business or academic purposes. At Spanish Panama the teachers are all native speakers, profesional and experienced. For more information please call (+507) 213 3121, or visit the website www.spanishpanama.com
Independance Day, Casco Antiguo
TEL (3507) 213-3121, Via Argentina, Panama City, Panama.
National Holidays in Panama : Spanish Panama