"La Parada de Navidad": A Christmas Tradition in Panama

Dear International Living Reader,

Christmas arrived in Panama City this year when Juan Carlos Navarro, the city mayor, officially announced that everything was “ready” for the annual parade, the festive yearly event that gathers kids, teenagers, and adults from all around the country.

This year’s parade started in Parque Urracá, as it does every year. It continued over to Avenida Balboa, then to Avenida Aquilino de la Guardia and on to Calle 50, ending at Via Porras with a sparkling show of fireworks. Along the way spectators enjoyed 26 floats (representing corporations, churches, schools, and government entities) and 26 local bands, all celebrating the theme “Christmas Spirit.” Every year the floats are decorated in traditional Panamanian styles, and people in the parade dress in “polleras” (the typical women’s dress style) and “montunos” (the typical men’s style). The drummers keep the crowds entertained by swinging the drums around their necks a couple of times and then picking up again where they left off, drumming while marching.

Around 12,000 children from different poor areas of the city were the guests of honor to a VIP pre-party in Parque Urracá, which included shows, artist presentations, lots of different foods, and gifts and candies for the kids.

This parade is a special occasion for all Panamanian families to gather and enjoy the beauty of this magical event and time of year. Those who can’t make it in person can watch the parade live on TV–but we hope to see you here in person next year!

Feliz Navidad!

From the Staff of International Living

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