Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Headed to the Canal!

When I made my list of countries to visit on my Christmas tour I thought the traditions would vary significantly - especially in Central America where there were so many different tribal influences - Mayan, Aztec etc. And there is some of that but it I am quickly learning that the global communtiy is very quickly bleeding one culture into another.

Our next stop on the tour is Panama where I thought for sure there would be a lot of very different traditions since it is the gateway between North and South America. Guess what? I forgot about our little visit there called the Panama Canal! As a result I am learning that there is a very strong American influence on their holiday traditions.

Panama strikes me as a bit conflicted in their holiday. Christmas is brought in with fireworks - very unlike their highly religious neighbors who celebrate with midnight mass. Then they go to Mass the next morning to offer prayers. Particularly in the area around the canal they are very American in their decorating with elaborate outdoor lights and flood lights and Christmas trees. But like every good holiday they don't hold back on the food. Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), ham, tamales, fruitcake, and bowls of fruit all come together for a family meal.

Of all the countries (all 3 of them!) that we have visited so far Panama has been one of the most interesting. They have married the American and Hispanic cultures to create a very unique holiday of their own. I would love to be able to pass through the canal this time of year and see just how close that marriage is!



Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

I would LOVE to tour Panama!

You've been tagged in the Photo Tag Game on my blog: Diana's Daily Ramblings It's an easy & painless game of tag!