Last night, Tim and I wanted to see the Good Friday processional, which is quite a big deal in Panama, since it’s predominantly a Catholic country. Since we knew that there were going to be large crowds for the event, we came into town early in order to find a parking place. Tim still has his apartment downtown, so we parked the car there and chilled out until just before the parade started at 8 p.m. We left his apartment about 7:45 and walked the few blocks to the town square, and found a great spot to view the processional as it passed right by us.
The processional began with several young people bearing torches and carrying banners. They were very solemn and deliberate in their demeanor, as befit the occasion.
Following them was the first float depicting the cross draped with a banner, and a large crowd of people walking silently behind it.
The next float depicted the crucified Christ, followed by another large group of people. Solemn religious music accompanied the march, with the speakers mounted in the back of a pickup truck.
The next float was of Mary, again with a large number of people following and more music.
The final float featured the risen Christ. More people, more music. I didn’t know there were that many people in the area!
All of the floats were very beautiful and elaborate, embellished with fresh flowers and great attention to detail. This event obviously means a tremendous amount to the faithful, for them to participate and endure the crowds. I apologize if I didn’t capture the full meaning of the event – I confess I’m not Catholic. 🙂
All the hotels were packed, and I’m very glad we decided to come into town early! We learned our lesson when we tried to watch the Christmas parade. The roads were at a complete standstill when we came into town an hour or two before the parade was to start. We gave up about a mile outside of downtown and went home. Not this time!