Sounds of drums clang all over the anchorage, make their way into the marina and add a very special atmosphere to the Bocas tel Toro Archipelago these days. It is November and official life in Panama has come to a slow over the many public holidays this month. Everywhere colorful Parades are held while the residents celebrate the founding of not only their own country. – A must see for everyone traveling along the western caribbean coastline.
School children were already practicing their marching, baton twirling, and playing mostly drums and xylophones for weeks already. Many of them will march in uniforms while those not playing an instrument dance in traditional costumes of vivid colors. The dancers, swirl their full bright skirts and twirl down the street to the beat of the all ruling drums.
The first day of celebrating was November 3rd, when Panama every year celebrates becoming its own Republic back in 1903. Officially it is called „Separation Day“ and is just followed by „Flag Day“ or „Dia de la Bandera“ the next morning. Now we celebrate the brave Panamanians that secretly designed and sewed the Panama flag to fly the day after separation was declared.
The country’s huge party continues on November 5th with „Colon day“. This time the groups parade along the streets to remember when the provinces of Colon and Panama City joined forces to to separate from Columbia. – Time for a break!
But only until November 10th when Panamanians remember the “Cry for Freedom” or “El Primer Grito de Independencia en la Villa de Los Santos”. There, in the town of La Villa de Los Santos, the full separation from Columbia was proclaimed throughout the whole nation. The last holiday celebrated in this row will be next week on November the 28th. This one is rooted back about one hundred years further, when Panama at that time was a part of Colombia and still they celebrate the independence from Spain on this day in 1821. Therefore, even though it is not a true Panamanian day to remember, it still is called the Independence day.
Right within this series of events another one settles in on November 16th. The „Fundacion de la Provincia de Bocas Del Toro“, the founding of the province in 1904.
Tomorrow Bocas Town will be full of people. The festivities are shared with residents from all the other towns, villages, smaller islands and neighborhoods within the province of Bocas Del Toro. It also is a great time for People from Almirante, Changuinola and other communities to join the local residents.