Check out the drumstick action!
Panama’s Independence celebrations stretch out over a week – from November 3 to November 8. This is because Panama is celebrating independence from not one, but TWO countries. The first set of celebrations (featured in my previous post, Dias de Patria) talks about breaking free of Columbia.
Today, November 8, celebrates Panama’s break with Spain on November 8 some 82 years earlier. The celebrations today that mark this time for Panamanians include parades and, of course, drumming, especially in the Azuero Penninsula, home to the city of Los Santos. This is where the first cry for freedom from Spain was issued, an incredibly gutsy move now referred to as The Grito de la Villa de Los Santos (The Cry from the Village of the Saints). Why was it so brave? The people of Los Santos lived in terror (with good reason) of reprisals by Colonel José Pedro Antonio de Fábrega y de las Cuevas. De Fábrega was well-known for swift, merciless retaliation against anything bearing the least scent of revolt. This info per Wikipedia , although sometimes the dates seem to conflict.)
So the parade of drummers here in Las Tablas starts this morning at 9:30 am and goes all day until 9:30 tonight. Talk about a long, intense day! The musicians spell each other, but most put in as much time as they possibly can. People will pour in from all over Panama to watch. The bands from the schools participate with great enthusiasm, even after being up half the night last night having a pre-celebration celebration. The best musicians will be recruited into the bigtime – the bands of the Cuerpos de los Bomberos, the fire-fighters. It’s a great time for everyone.
You can see a fabulous 42 photos of marching bands, ladies in Pollera costumes, the canal, general patriotism and various touristy shots on Huffington Post (from previous years). (Scroll down, the slideshow is still there.)