Holiday Dates and a visit from the Pope

This year the holiday season in Panama will keep on giving with the Popes visit at the end of January. Be prepared, write down these dates and avoid traveling on and around them!

While the holiday season traditionally ends in January, Panama loves a good party, so it’s only natural that this year the party will continue through to March (Carnival).

Here are major holiday dates & dates for World Youth Day 2018

The beaches will start to see an influx of people starting this weekend Friday, December 21st, as many will take the weeks of Christmas and New Years off work as kids are out of school. 

This year 24th of December is a Monday, while Chrismas eve is not a holiday many might take a half day to get where they are going for the 25th. 

The 25th of December is a Tuesday, and it’s a holiday, expect government offices, banks etc. to be closed. 

The 26th of December, a Wednesday is boxing day. FIY boxing day is not as big of an event in Panama as it is North America, although over the last few years both Black Friday and boxing day have been catching on. While this year you can expect more store (especially those located in malls) to betake part. But know, the deals are likely not going to be worth the traffic. 

While the 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st are not holidays, these days will still be busy out at the beach. With fewer items on the shelves at the store and more people in line. 

There is a special tradition to bring in the New Year at the beach, a tradition that actually has roots in Chame! If you’ve been driving in the area lately you may have seen some life-size dolls on the roadside.  “Muñeco de año Viejo” or in English, an Old Year Doll is a family tradition in Panama West specifically in the towns of Chame, Bejuco, and San Carlos. “Muñecos de año Viejo” or “Los Judas” (The Judas) are intended to keep negative sentiments of the past year, in the past. The dolls are burned at the stroke of midnight (often stuffed with fireworks). The burning symbolizes the fresh start to the year and a goodbye to the unwanted past.

It’s a good thing the 1st of January is a holiday because the 31st is always a party. 

The next holiday is Martyr’s day, it is a national holiday it falls on the 9th of January. 

World Youth Day, a massive religious event taking place in Panama City will start with the "pre-pilgrimage" on January 16th with people from all over the country moving around. The event officially begins on January 23rd and will continue to the 27th. With an expected 1 million visitors, this event is sure to make Panama City and surrounding towns an absolute mess. Most hotels are already books, so if you are going to be in the city during this event you will want to confirm you have a reservation. The area of Clayton and City of Knowledge will both be closed during the event. 

The Fiesta continues in March with Carnival starting on the 5th. Stay posted for more Carnival dates, and what is happening where at the beach over the holidays!