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Typical Dances
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Customs and Traditions.

From earlier times, five indigenous cultures have existed in Panama and took shape long before the period marked by Christopher Columbus.

As of the 16 th century, following the Spaniards’ arrival, a growing transformation process began to take place due to the later presence of African descendants and, to a lower extent, the Chinese, the French and North Americans also enriched the country’s heritage with their art and music.

There is a huge variety of dances, including a dance called “Gran Diablo” (Great Devil), alluding to the underworld struggle between good and evil and represented in the shape of Angel Saint Michael and the Devil, respectively.

Likewise, “ La Pajarilla” (The little bird), an art form developed by the inhabitants of San José de Las Tablas, is one of the Corpus celebrations.

Montezuma, in its versions “Española” and “Cabezona”, has prevailed among the Azuero people, especially in La Villa de Los Santos (The Saints’ Village).

“El Torito” (the little bull) is considered to be a famous dance filled with joy. In addition, there is the Cucuas, Diablos sucios (Dirty devils) and Diablos de espejos (Mirror devils).

The country has a rich variety of legends mostly told in inner towns, where you can listen to the story of La Virgen Guerrera (The Fighting Virgin) or la Margarita de los Campos (Daisy of the Fields) and el Chorro de las Mozas (the Young Girls’ Stream) by Luisita Aguilera Patiño, el Pargo Negro (the Black Snapper) by Manuel María Alba, and la Niña Encantada del Salto del Pilón (the Enchanted Girl from El Pilón’s Fall) by Sergio González Ruiz.

The most outstanding festive days are those dedicated to the Patron Saints: the Sabbath of Glory, the Day of the Cross, La Mejorana Festival, La Pollera Festival, Saint Sebastian in Ocú, Corpus Christi and other interesting and peculiar celebrations.


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