Unlimited Vacation Club members looking for different cultural events to attend during their vacation holidays may want to consider a much lesser known festival in Panama. The Festival of Corpus Christi, which is always held 60 days after the Good Friday, takes place on June 20, 2019, and is quite a spectacle for both locals and visitors alike. This festival has its roots in the early days of its Spanish colonial era, but it has become a symbolic demonstration of Panama’s culture. Sponsored in most part by the Catholic church, this festival takes place in two central Panamian locations, the central cities of Chitre and Los Santos.
Different Spanish-speaking countries celebrate Corpus Christi in many different methods. The original festivals began as early as the thirteenth century and were designed to celebrate the fact that the blood and body of Jesus Christ remain in the Catholic church through the Holy Eucharist which is the specific part of the Catholic mass when the holy transformation of bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood occurs. Over the centuries, this celebration has received many new twists, including the local flavors of the countries where it is celebrated. Barcelona, for example, has become famous for its unique dancing egg tradition, and in places throughout Peru, the holiday is mixed with traditions from both its Catholic and Inca ancestors.
Unlimited Vacation Club members, however, will find that the festival of Corpus Christi has also evolved. What began as a solemn religious procession conducted in silence has dramatically changed over the years. Now, during the Festival of Corpus Christi in Panama, it is much more of a carnival atmosphere where “dirty” and “clean” devils dance in rhythm to bells or castanets. The dirty devils are meant to represent evil, so every year, approximately two dozen men dress in striped black and red suits and don scary masks with horns and macaw tail feathers.
However, as good always combats evil, there is also a group of “clean” spirits to protect and guide the innocents. These spirits dress in colorful outfits, but their masks and costumes have little to no decoration as a showcase of humility and righteousness. As both groups parade and dance on the streets, plazas, and parks, the public is encouraged to take part in the ongoing events around them. On the last day of the festival, both groups come together in front of large audiences, and after a grand and colorful procession, the “clean” Devils defeat the “dirty” devils and drive them out of the temple.
Unlimited Vacation Club members know that there are many reasons to visit Panama. It is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world thanks to its rain forests, coastlines, cloud forests, and mountains as well as a government that is dedicated to preserving these attractions for Panama for both locals and eco-tourists. English is widely spoken throughout the country, although Spanish is the official language. So if you want your next vacation to include something uniquely different, try the Corpus Christi Festival in Panama as it is sure to surprise and delight you, your friends, and children with its highly elaborated dramatic performance.
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