Researchers have found that the earliest carnivals in Panama begun since the Spanish colonization period, where some disguised as kings and queens of Spain or as Spanish soldiers, slaves and Indians. They all departed from Peña Prieta beach, Balboa Avenue, to part of what is Santana today, simulating battles.
Those traditions underwent changes over time. Nevertheless, carnivals became more and more popular in Panama and have won a special place among the new generations to the extent that in spite of the violence rates arising from these events, carnivals are one of the most keenly anticipated fêtes by Panamanians. Why? Simply because their name is related with the act of having fun completely free from inhibitions. In these events there is plenty of “guaro” (alcohol), “guiales” (women) and “campana” (music, party and bustle).
While carnival festivities are being held, rest hours are few. Fun lasts all daylong well into the early morning and at sunrise, the crowds go back to celebrate.
It is fair to say though that the original purpose of such events has been altered and presentations defer significantly from the earliest performances. However, we must try to recover the positive side of these traditions and make it prevail over the next few years.