Here in Panama Mother’s Day is a REALLY big deal, not just a marketing gimmick dreamed up by greeting card manufacturers, restaurants and retail outlets to fill their coffers. In Panama Mother’s Day is on the 8th of December and it’s an official holiday with government offices and banks closed down for the day.
The 8th was on a Wednesday this year but the Saturday following, a big celebration was held here in Boquerón at the covered basketball court by the City Hall. It’s a good thing it was undercover since it rained most of the day. Not one of our aguacerro drenchers but a steady light rain. Still, over 1,400 people showed up for the entertainment.
There were bands, youngsters performing traditional folk dances in costume, the girls resplendent in their plain Pollera dresses and hair decorations.
The Polera the adults wear on special occasions are works of art.
On a stage at one end of the court was a treasure trove of blankets, clocks and other goodies that were given to the mothers in attendance.
There was also food, of course. Hundreds and hundreds of Panamanian tamales wrapped in banana leaves. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos and after having been on my feet for nearly three hours my back was killing me and so I wandered down the hill to the house.
I thought the whole thing was great and in the wonderful tradition of what small-town life is really like whether here in Panama or around the world. It’s one of those touches of reality and humanity that are lost in the metropolitan areas. Okay, after writing that I realize there are often neighborhoods in the older cities like Boston, New York and Chicago that have their own traditions and localized fairs and celebrations, but these are primarily based on ethnic and national origins rather than encompassing the entire community as a whole.
One response to “Mother’s Day In Boquerón”
What a wonderful day – and what beautiful dresses. Actually, the entire crowd is extraordinarily colorful – and apparently pretty happy.
Events like that are wonderful, and they’re far more than fun – they’re a way of holding a community together. I lived for a while in a German-Czech-Italian part of south Texas, and the picnics, weddings, 4th of July celebrations and such never divided down ethnic lines – the community always came first. (Though we did get a nice mix of food!)
Thanks so much for the pics – they really are wonderful. Oh – and I just learned the difference between polera and pollera!!
I’ve been fortunate in getting to see local events few tourists or even a lot of expats have. Probably because I have made friends with the local residents and been invited to them. In France I saw little fetes down on back streets that wouldn’t get noticed if you didn’t live nearby. A family in Spain that we got to know when the boat was in Marbella took us to a festival in the nearby village of San Pedro. Parade with local girls in their native costume finery and mantillas. A bull fight in a travelling ring with local kids as the matadors, one fighting against a bull with only one horn, so you knew this wasn’t the big time. My girlfriend Florence, our engineer Aussie John and I were about the only non-natives there and everybody was so welcoming, passing their wine skins and inviting us to a round of tapas bar hopping afterwards. And I loved this Mother’s Day get together. The kids were so cute and really into their part in the celebration.