Dias de Patria, 2013

DSCF4629 The drums have been thundering all through October as the school kids practice for the celebrations ahead. This weekend we have the three Dias de Patria. After breaking free Spain in 1821, Panama was part of the Columbian Republic until November 3, 1903 when Panama became an independent nation. Flag Day is celebrated November 4, and Colon Day, the day that celebrates the surrender of the Columbian garrison in Colon is November 5.
Large and small Panamanian flags are for sale everywhere. I bought a few little ones this year and put two on the back of my scooter for the occasion. Whizzing down the road I feel like a parade all by myself.
Speaking of parades, we’ll have some terrific ones this weekend, with all the schools bands participating, queens, floats, and the whole enchilada. The entire town will turn out to watch. Part of the excitement for the school kids lies in knowing that scouts for the famous bands of the Cuerpo de Bomberos (the firefighters) will be watching them, hoping to recruit both firefighters and the best muscians.
The adults look forward to time off from work. For these three days off, most of Panama City flees to the interior, and families gather for happy reunions. Besides parades and lots of flags, there’ll be good food (especially arroz con pollo) and plenty of fireworks. Most especially lots of fireworks.
And drums, both day and night, not just at the parades. There’s a tireless drummer in my neighborhood who literally makes my feet itch to dance. This place is so much fun!