November 28th in Boquete is always a big deal. This is the date of Panama's independence from Spain, first celebrated in 1821. Every year Boquete hosts a huge parade in which school bands from all over the country participate. I'm told the parade starts very early in the morning and continues until late afternoon. Unfortunately, I missed it. I can't be in two places at once, and made a choice to attend the festivities in Santiago instead.
Also occurring this same time in Las Tablas, is the pollera festival, which I also wanted to attend. I was told the road is very bad due to new construction, and that it would be impossible to find lodging there at such a late date. Maybe next year I will be able to make it. Polleras are the intricate folk dresses worn by Panamanian women. They are incredibly beautiful and unique. Apparently there were 1000 polleras represented at this year's festival. What a pity I wasn't there! Below is a photo of a pollera I found on the internet. I have photos of polleras taken on a canal cruise a few years ago, but they aren't uploaded to my laptop. I may add them later when I return to the states...I've been wanting to research the origins and history of the pollera and may post more on the subject sometime in the future.
Every last Sunday in November, the city of Santiago has it's own event which isn't practiced elsewhere in Panama. It is a religious event, but as I quickly learned yesterday, religion and politics and business concerns and old-fashioned competition are all intertwined. I was emotionally moved, nonetheless. I need to sort through photos and will post information tomorrow about the "Procession de la Virgin de la Medalla Milagrosa."