Panamanian Customs: Innocent Butterflies


Butterfly over Explosion

Did I start this?
Flikr Photos: Butterfly by Erica Marshall superimposed on Explosion by Jason Hargrove

“My stove has exploded and my kitchen is destroyed! Ja-ja-ja!  Inocente mariposa!”

“My car was stolen in the night and I cannot now come to your house for New Year!  Ja-ja-ja!  Inocente mariposa!”

December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents is for remembrance of the day Herod Antipas ordered the slaughter of all babes under two shortly after Jesus was born.  It is a religious holy day here in Panama.  It is also the equivalent of Panama’s April Fool’s Day.  Panamanian customs include playing pranks on friends and family on this day.  When I asked my neighbor about it, she described the pranks mostly in terms of describing some horrific personal disaster before giggling at one’s listener and crying, “Inocente mariposa (innocent butterfly!)”  After which everyone has a relieved laugh and life goes on.

I only have one source for how this is done here, so there may be more extensive pranking by those so inclined.  Bottom line, in Panama it’s April Fool’s Day on December 28.