Thursday, February 18, 2010

Panama Carnaval

The Carnaval celebration in Panama is the second largest in the world.  It officially begins on the fourth day before Ash Wednesday, but for drinkers, I am sure the party starts way before then.  On the actual Carnaval days, most work comes to a complete stop and the main streets of Panama City are filled with parades, floats, masks, costumes, and confetti...or water.  The largest celebrations take place in Panama City and Las Tablas.

The Carnaval schedual begins Friday before Ash Wednesday with the selection of the Carnaval Queen and her attendents.  The queen then reings over the daily parade and official activities.

One Panamanian Carnaval tradition is the "mojaderas" or getting drenched in water.  anyone becomes a target to the many fire hoses, water ballons and buckets. 

Sunday at midday is a large beautiful "polerra" parade.  Polleras are Panama's national costume and thousands of women and girls deck themselves out in this lovely national dress to march by groups in the parade or just walk around.  But the biggest and final celebration is Fat Tuesday.  A huge new Orleans style parade features highly decorated floats and costumed people from all sectors of society.  The party finishes in the early hours of the morning.

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