Traditional Finery on Parade

Celebrations, Cultural events

Last week, a group of about 25 people who were alumni of the Panama Relocation Tour took a day trip (a five-hour bus ride each way) to Las Tablas, the home of the “Parade of the 1000 Polleras.” The pollera is a lavishly embroidered traditional Panamanian skirt and blouse ensemble, worn with an elaborate beaded headdress. See this article for a brief history of this garment, and this article for details on the headdress.

Las Tablas is near the coast, and it was HOT, as well as extremely crowded. This is an important festival, and it’s only one day, so people from all over Panama come to view it.

This festival featured well over 1,000 ladies swaying gracefully down the streets in their lovely polleras, along with their male counterparts, whose outfits pale by comparison. The men wear dark pants and a white embroidered shirt, often with straw hats.

The video below will give you a glimpse of the energy of this event (despite the heat), as well as a bit of the music and the charm of the beautiful ladies who wear their traditional garments so proudly.

The design of the first float in the video shows the Chinese influence evident in Panama, dating back to the construction of the canal. The guys walking in front of the second float are using their long poles to raise the electric lines above the float as it passes beneath them. Several groups also carried mobile sound equipment strapped to dollies to provide music as they move along the parade route. Where there’s a will, there’s a way to make it happen!

The young girls and boys are just so cute in their elaborate outfits, too!

Lovely young ladies!

The day was long, but very enjoyable. We arrived back in Boquete about 10:15 p.m. I’m happy to have experienced yet another magnificent cultural event in my new home!

5 comments… add one
  • Barb Goltry Jan 19, 2020 Link Reply

    Hey Myra, are you going to get one of these lovely dresses and sway around in your finery someday?

    • Myra Jan 20, 2020 Link Reply

      I seriously doubt it! Since they’re traditional Panamanian outfits, it would likely be frowned upon if a gringa wore them. 🙂

    • Bill Eudy Jan 22, 2020 Link Reply

      Oh no! It would be cultural appropriation lol. Just tell them you identify as a Panamanian.

  • Richard Rice Jan 20, 2020 Link Reply

    I remember these parades as a kid.

    • Myra Jan 20, 2020 Link Reply

      You really need to come down here for a visit!

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