November 28th is independence Day in Panama. It commemorates Panama's independence from Spain. This year, however, November 28th fell midweek, on a Wednesday. So President Martinelli declared the holiday to be celebrated November 26th, in order to provide Panamanians with a 3 day weekend.
Boquete is one of the most frequented sites for this celebration, with municipal, governmental, special interest, and school bands from all parts of Panama bussing it up to our small pueblo for a full day's long parade. This of course, is always preceeded and followed lots of loud music and dancing at night... This morning, the boom, boom, boom of the band bases could be heard all the way into Alto Boquete until about 3 am. (No complaints, I admire Panamanians for knowing how to party...just reporting the way things are.)
Although the holiday is to be observed on November 26th, the parade was scheduled for November 25th. This allowed time for the bands to travel up to Boquete on Saturday, party Saturday night, parade all day Sunday, return late Sunday evening, and rest up on Monday, the holiday.
The weather hasn't been very cooperative, unfortunately. I headed into town around noon to observe the parade and returned around 4 pm. It rained the entire time, and the rain has only picked up in intensity and wind power since my leaving. Even now I can hear the drums from my dry, warm, snug house five minutes up the hill from town center. The thermometer shows it's 68 degrees outside. Couldn't help but feel compassion for all those school children marching in thin, rainsoaked uniforms, without sweaters or umbrellas, wearing high heels or carrying heavy musical instruments in the downpours. If any spirits were dashed, they certainly didn't show it. They just kept on keeping on. So proud of them!
No report would be complete without comment on the presence of SUNTRACS members who marched as well, carrying a banner of protest against the current president.