La Mejorana Folklore Festival
La Mejorana National Folklore festival will begin September 23 and continue until September 27. La Mejorana, is an imporant cultural festival taking place annually in Guararé, a little town on the Azuero Peninsula.
The history behind the event goes something like this: Over 60 years ago a folklore researcher and author, professor Manuel F. Zárate who lived from 1899 until 1968, started getting together with friends from his hometown (Guararé).
They met at the same time each year, the day of "Virgen de las Mercedes", always falling in the month of September. During their annual get together the friends would celebrate their heritage through song and dance. Their tradition has since grown into a multiple day celebration and important national event celebrating Panamanian culture. The professor and his wife Professor Dora Perez Zárate (1912-2001), folklorist, writer and educator, are honored by the traditional customs still practiced at the festival today.
The festival gets its name from a Panamanian instrument called the mejorana. The mejorana is similar to a guitar. It is used in a lot of Panamanian folk music and in songs called "mejoranas,” romantic ballads that are sung by men.