Panama is undoubtedly one of the most devout Catholic countries on the planet, and the way Panamanians celebrate Easter supports that fact.
In addition to the preparation for Easter, beginning with Carnival and Lent 40 days before Easter Sunday,
the entire Easter Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are holidays. Everyone gets a
four-day weekend, and most also get a half day on the Wednesday before Holy Thursday.
If we want to speak in terms of statistics, we can say that more than 80% of Panamanians are Catholic,
and more than 70% attend Mass regularly, every week, and many of them attend several times a week.
Easter in Panama lasts a week. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, special masses, local religious
processions dedicated to Mary, Jesus, or one of the Saints, are held daily, and parishioners focus on
prayer, reflection, and dedication to the Catholic Faith.
Normally, the processions take place at night, to allow the maximum participation of people.
If you are in Panama during the Easter season, here are some ideas on what to do:
- Head to the beach on Easter Day and the day before, as many Panamanians will. Also explore and get to know the interior of the place, its tropical forests and its natural and exotic beauty. The truth is that the cities will be a little empty for part of the week, so why not "go with the flow" and "go where the action is"?
• Attend the Easter religious services offered by the huge Catholic church located in Puerto Armuelles, called Iglesia Católica San Antonio de Padua. You can also attend any of the numerous masses celebrated in Panama City and throughout the country.
• In both large and small cities, you will find processions or Via Crucis on Good Friday. Many of them have up to 14 Stations of the Cross, which symbolise all the events: from when Jesus was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate until he was buried in the rock-cut tomb. In some parades you can also see floats, colourful dresses and religious icons.