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Holy Week celebration in Panama, days for rest and tradition

Semana santa
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Holy Week is an event celebrated in every corner of the planet where a Catholic lives. It is the propitious time to commemorate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ according to tradition.

Panama could not be the exception although the celebration has its slight differences. Each region of the country has its own customs and, therefore, its programmed activities. It also represents for many, a time to travel within the country, enjoy a few days of rest and say goodbye to the summer season.

Holy Week in Panama begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. These seven days include processions, Way of the Cross performance, representations based on religious magical folklore and local gastronomy.

The Holy Week is not only a Catholic commemoration. Evangelical and orthodox religions also join the event. Evangelic give great importance to what we know as the Holy Supper, Orthodox have a different calendar which begins with Lazarus Saturday and ends on Holy Saturday. This 2018, the religious calendar for Catholics goes from March 25 to March 31 and for Orthodox from March 31 to April 7.

Concerning populations and traditions, we have frequent performances of the Way of the Cross and representations of the Passion of Christ in places like Parita, Chitré, Las Tablas, Guararé and in the Peninsula of Azuero. In the capital, Arraiján and La Chorrera, there are also representations but with highly religious content with the participation of local residents. In Azuero, the traditions are attached to religious magical folklore and finally in Colón, the ancestors take part with the preparation of bread based on flour known as "Bom" that represents the Last Supper. In gastronomy drinks based on cocoa, coconut milk and flour are prepared.

In the provinces of Coclé and Herrera (center), and Veraguas (center-west) performances will be held at night, at the end of the Eucharist.

In Los Santos (center) performances are made of the verses of the Holy Scriptures, which narrate the Way of the Cross, ending with Jesus’ crucifixion.

Last year, the historic Casco Antiguo of Panama that includes a circuit of six churches were attended by 48,586 people on Good Friday and Thursday, most of them with the intention of visiting the churches, a popular custom that symbolizes churchgoers’ accompaniment to Jesus, said the governing body of tourism.

Holy Week, a mixture of tradition and religiosity, which attracts tourism with its processions, way of the cross and living passions, began the day on Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, according to the Christian tradition.

 

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