Panama Day From Bocas Del Toro

 In Blog

panama day

Feliz Día de la Independencia, Panamá

Colorful polleras and intricate headdresses will be filling  the streets of  Panama City as well as our little Island Bocas Del Toro, Panama  today and tomorrow as dancers wearing the national folk dress joined the military procession celebrating their independence from not one, but two countries.  

November 3, 1903 may be held as the beginning of the country’s sovereignty but, 82 years before the celebrated date, Panama obtained its first independence–their liberation from the Spanish crown.

Panamanians strike up the band and cue the military procession each Nov. 3 to commemorate their separation from Colombia. Once part of Gran Colombia, (which consisted of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador) Panama seceded in 1903, soon after the end of the Thousand Days’ War.

Interest in the Panama Canal, and failure to ratify the Herrán-Hay treaty in the Colombian senate, prompted the Unitedimage States to support Panama’s separation from Gran Colombia.  Separatist in Panama, unlike Colombia, eventually did come to an agreement with the US, and on February 23, 1904 the new Republic of Panama gave President Theodore Roosevelt control of the Panama Canal Zone for $10 million US dollars.

November 4th  however, Panama commemorates its independence from Spain–and to celebrate almost two centuries free from colonial rule take this tour of the central american country that offers visitors vast ocean views of both the Atlantic and the Pacific, eco-tourism through its lush rain forests, cultural encounters with traditional wear and indigenous people that call this literal “bridge of the americas” home. (information in the pose was compiled from

Panama Day in Bocas Del Toro

Although the little island we live on here in Bocas Del Toro is a small slice of the grand scale of this country, the celebration is nothing to take lightly.  All the surrounding islands come to Bocas to march in the parade and show their musical and local dance skills for the whole community, anchoring in this special day as proud residence and citizen  of Panama.

This will be 2 of the most festive days celebrated in this country, most of the local children are out of school, and parents and citizens from surrounding islands come to party, and celebrate their independence!  Bocas, will be nothing short of wild and crazy!  They love their loud music, big speaker and panama Cervesa!  These 2 days will be an extention of the weekend and guarantee to be a great showing for all that participate.

hanalei dead

This year will be the first year that Tangerine Education Center, marches in the parade and we couldn’t be more excited that Hanalei is here to experience it.  Tangerine is the private school that Hanalei attends each day, most of the children are expatriate kids of families from all over the world that have chosen Panama and Bocas Del Toro as their residence.

They celebrated Halloween, on October 30th, Hanalei was a dressed as the traditional look for the Mexican  Holiday senorita from  “Day of the Dead”.  The kids had their own parade for the parents then walked to the Eselo or “hogar de ancianos” which is the elderly home here on the island.    The kids all walked through the home, sharing their costumes and wishing them all a Hally Halloween.  The smiles on their faces were nothing short of beautiful.

After the school day celebration the kids all head to the street in front of the Police Station and Buena Vista Restaurant  where they hop from restaurant to restaurant to trick or treat, after the candy tossing fun they have a costume contest and the first price winner got a dinner at the Tortuga hotel located on the N side of the island.

Living this virtual life, has allowed our family to experience many different countries cultures and holiday’s and has allowed our daughter Hanalei to understand the value of each celebration and to embrace the love of other countries.

Until the next holiday…Have a beautiful day no matter where you are…and always #BEUNSTOPPABLE!


Rhonda and Brian Swan

Wondering how we can live around the world to experience these cultures and parades?

This will explain a bit more of how we do it. See Here

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment