I have written in the past that both November and December are big holiday/fiesta months in Pedasí. This year was no exception. Pedasi loves parades, fiestas, music, and fireworks. The alcalde (mayor) has done a great job promoting and cleaning up Pedasí, trying to promote community, tourism, and a beautiful quality of life.
As promised, this post is the continuation of the last one. But after I started writing this next post, I realized my activities in November were more than enough for one post. So I will finish the year on the next post.
November starts right off with 4 national holidays back-to-back. People who live in the cities come to the interior to visit their families. November 2nd is “El Día de los Muertes” (Day of the Dead). This day is very quiet, respecting the memories of past loved ones. But as soon as the clock strikes midnight, the music and fireworks start up. Fiestas de Patrias will continue for several days as November 3rd is the first of two Independence Days (this one from Columbia), November 4th is Flag Day (The Panama Flag is seen everywhere), and November 5th is Colon Day. Since Nov. 5th landed on a Sunday this year, Monday, November 6th was decreed a “holiday” for government offices and banks to be closed. And although it is still the rainy season (and this year we have more of our share than past years), people celebrate rain or shine. I wrote about these holidays several times before and if you choose to know more just click on Here, or Here, or Here. There are 2 other holidays here in Panama as well: “Shout in Villa de Los Santos” – Nov. 10th and the 2nd Independence Day from Spain – Nov. 28th. I have written before, the Panamanians love to celebrate their holidays.
November was full a fun activities. I attended a baby shower for a young woman who is part of the “Free Spirits” women’s group. Another women’s group also has formed- WWW (Women, Wine, and Whatever). It is more of a craft class taught by a woman newer to the community. She has lots of ideas and craft material to offer. This first time, we basically finger-painted using many forms of materials with our creations. Afterwards we made wine glass coasters.
This month we adopted a 2nd dog, Chavo. His former owner was offered a job in the United States and needed to find a new owner fast. We came to the rescue. He is the perfect friend for Bella. After about a day of introduction, Chavo and Bella run and play all day long.
Although not a Panamanian official holiday, Thanksgiving was celebrated at Casa Corotú in Limón with many other expats and Panamanian friends. Lots of food and live music was included.
Okay, the biggest event this past November which I had absolutely the most fun participating in was the Desfile de Las Carretas (Cart Parade). This celebration is Mikkel and my favorite. We love to see the decorated oxen-drawn carts which depict the folklore of the Pedasí district, as well as the people dressed in the traditional costumes along with the parade of caballeros on their horses. But this year the mayor and parade committee invited the expat residents to participate. I was one of them and counted it an honor, since it was the first time ever this had happened, and we felt accepted as part of the community. Actually the invite came in October. So some of us started early preparing by taking dance instructions. This included how to hold our skirts, hats, and steps moving around each other and forward. Then we received specific instructions of what to wear; the women had a choice to wear the traditional country polleras or jeans or black pants and a specific white Panamanian blouse; the men could wear jeans or black pants with a white Panamanian Guayabera dress shirt and Panamanian hat (not to be mistaken as the “Panama hat” which is from Equador). Well us women decided to go all out with the full traditional Pollera costume from head to toe. We found a local seamstress who explained exactly what we needed to wear. She wanted us to be authentic and not be laughed at. She then joined us as we all took a trip to Las Tablas to buy the many yard of fabric required along with other accessories such as shoes, hats or hairpieces, and jewelry. She then proceeded to make the polleras for each one of us. It was a little costly, but much less than some polleras which can cost thousands of dollars. The polleras and blouses turned out to be so beautiful. And when November 25th came, we were ready. Several children also joined our group along with a few Panamanians. Our cart was decorated by some local men and a small band played for us as we danced through the parade route in town. As we came through (No. 6 group in the parade), we were applauded and well received. I will never forget this amazing experience!
This slideshow is photos of our group.
This next group of photos are of others in the parade (obviously taken by others since I was in the parade).
One other event I almost forgot to mention is Musical BINGO. This is a fundraiser for Animal Advocates. It started several month ago as regular BINGO; $10 for 3 cards and lunch included at Smiley’s; usually every 2 weeks. Then we switched to Happy Hour; $5 for 3 cards, no lunch. Half the money collected goes to the winners; the other half to Animal Advocates. Than a fairly new expat resident suggested Musical BINGO; he had a computer program for this and volunteered to be the DJ. What a hit! We have one $5 sheet with songs, bands, and musicians of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, some 90’s. Listen to the song and name it or the group, and try to find it on our sheet. We play 3 games, each one consecutively adding to the last. Participants automatically start singing when they hear each song played. Sometimes the DJ is asked to continue playing. Sometimes some just get up and dance to the music. Everyone has a great time. Smiley’s benefits because most of the participants order drinks; some order meals. Animal Advocates raises money. The winners get cash prizes.
A post in the Facebook Pedasí Post page depicts how much fun we are having. Click HERE.
This event continues on into December with Christmas music and then on into the new year. But that’s all for now. November was a great month here in Pedasí. Stay tuned for the next post of our continued busy life in December.