Panamanian Culture and Panama Customs

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Panamanian culture has absorbed diverse influences with time. Amongst the influences inflicted upon the Panamanian culture the ones that come to mind are the native Indian people, the colonial era settlements and not to mention the today’s multi-race communities. European influence by way of Spanish rule that lasted for 300 years also played its part. Panamanian culture also houses North American culture especially in the Panama Canal region.

Speaking of the ways of life, the co-existence of the many influences in Panamanian culture is strongly evident in how the people of Panama lead their lives. People inhabiting the urban areas, particularly the Panama Canal area (where the US army was based in the days when the construction work of the Canal was under progress), lead refined, sophisticated lives. Be it in the field of art, architecture, music or sports, the cities represent a contemporary society where the US influence is much-too apparent.

The Panama countryside with its cattle ranches and horses and Spanish folk songs, continues to be the throttlehold of Hispanic culture. The native people of Panama restricted in the small land pockets here and there also continue to contribute immensely to Panamanian culture. Thus, the netted bags and beaded necklaces made by the Guaymí people and the brightly embroidered textiles called Molas (made by Kuna women) have brought Panama’s artwork and handicrafts worldwide recognition. The epic poems (extending to some hundreds or thousands of lines) of the Kuna people focus another aspect of the Panamanian culture. Talking of religion of Panama, it has also faced the tunes of foreign influences.

The Panama customs as regard to their music, their dance, their festivities, their literature and even their cuisine are something that stands out. Dance and music are the other great examples of the happy matrimony of diverse cultures in Panama. Thus, the traditional dance Tamborito introduced by the Spanish invaders borrows steps and rhythms from native dance forms. The influence of Afro-Caribbean music and that of other popular local music like salsas cannot be missed. Though Spanish is the preferred language for compositions, the themes, plots and even characters have their roots steeped in the multicolored Panamanian culture. The Carnaval or carnival, Festival of the Black Christ, Fair of Azuero, Semana Santa (or Easter Week), are some of its festivities held year-round. Most of the festivals are excellent blending of Pagan and Catholic beliefs and rituals.

Panamanian culture is evidently diverse on all respects. From the people of Panama to its wide-ranging cuisines or festivities for that matter are truly unbelievable. It has so much in its culture that you will be automatically drawn towards its uncompromising charisma.