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How did Panama gain independence? How are Independence Day celebrations in Panama like? In this post, you will learn a part of Panama’s history and the main highlights of Panama’s Independence Day celebrations.
A Brief Panamanian History
Did you know that while under Spanish control, Panama freed itself by seeking assistance from Colombia? Yes, that happen. However, many years later, Colombia decided to stop working with the United States. This meant that the construction of the Panama Canal will be interrupted. This caused Panamanian unrest to intensify. The canal held great importance because it was needed to unlock economic potential by connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It contained the Panamanian hopes for economic prosperity and improved social conditions.
So, after the agreement between the United States and Colombia (to complete building the canal in 1903) failed to actualize, Panama was no longer interested in staying under Colombian control. Citizens formed a separatist movement. The country was declared independent by Panamanian leaders when Colombian troops moved toward Panama.
It was November when that event happened. Ever since then, November stayed on as Panama’s Independence month. The month is celebrated with a great array of parades, fireworks shows, public music and dance performances, and many more. Let’s find out more about some of the main highlights throughout the month:
Primer Grito de Independencia
Also known as the First Cry of Independence, on this very day, concerned citizens, who were staying in La Villa de Los Santos, wrote and sent a letter to the former President of Colombia. As a key figure in Central America’s fight for freedom from Spanish control, he had to deal with the Panamanian complains of being controlled by the Spanish Empire. One of the main activities of the day is usually a parade that starts on Simón Bolívar Street.
You can witness more marching and parades on Flag Day. Next, one can easily spot the flags that cover businesses, banks, and avenue overpasses. Even taxi cabs celebrate the month by placing flaps alongside their windows. There will also be flag children waving from sidewalks during parades.
How did Panama’s flag get its design? Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla was inspired by the U.S. flag. The first proposed flag design was based on that inspiration. Panama’s version? 13 stripes. The color, yellow, was chosen to highlight Panama’s links to Spain and Colombia. The blue corner of the flag was filled with varilla as well as two yellow suns with a line between them. The line represented Panama’s role as a bridge between North and South America. The suns represented those continents.
Independence Day Parade
Military men in white uniforms and wearing wing-tipped shoes as well as girls in white leather boots can be seen marching down the street of Cinta Costera. You can hear the melodies of xylophones and feel the rhythm of snare drums. If you have brought a camera along with you, don’t forget to take pictures!
Now, these people are not the only ones who will be marching. Even students from public and private schools, and government bodies like firemen and the police will be joining in. You can expect the celebrations to continue till night time. This is time when you can enjoy a wonderful firework display in Casco Viejo. Don’t worry. You can catch the fireworks along the Cinta Costera waterfront wall.
Independence Day (End of Month)
On November 28, 1821, Panama officially declared itself a fully sovereign entity that was free from Spanish control.
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