Last year we celebrated Christmas in David, my son and his girlfriend were visiting and they helped cook and serve to a very happy family group.
This year we planned to attend three different Christmas events before heading to the late night Panamanian feast. We never made it to the local events, too much construction, an unexpected guest and not enough time in one day. So we just did one event, the Escalante family, very Panamanian celebration.
Mayra’s family has a rotating host tradition for Christmas. This year we migrated to La Concepcion in Bugaba. If you have ever made the trip to either the frontier or Volcan, you passed through La Concepcion. You may even have taken the time to visit the central park which is always surrounded by vendors. Even last night at 10 PM we discovered the vendors where there, a good thing since we needed to build a salad and left our bag of onions in Boquete. Mayra commented that many businesses remain open until 11PM Christmas Eve and often have major sales between 9 and 11 trying to dump things they do not want to hold for another year.
We bought our onions and drove into one of the many subdivisions that surround La Concepcion for the event of the evening. In the local culture Christmas is celebrated with fireworks and dinner at midnight Christmas eve and with hours of both pre and post dinner partying. Last night was no exception. I noticed that despite the fact Mayra’s family is evangelical there has never been a religious tone to the festivities, I do not know if that is normal.
There was wine, rum, beer, food, loud music and fireworks. No Panamanian party I have ever attended lacked loud music. At the strike of midnight Bugaba erupted in fireworks and the entire group ran around giving hugs to each other. Things were a bit more sedate than usual due to police roadblocks checking for drunk drivers and phone calls warning potential attendees. I think families here have intuitive phone trees for communication. Several people stayed home so they would not need to run the gauntlet, probably a good thing.
Normally we would have joined the family at the beach today for Christmas day but I wanted to joins ome friends in Boquete for a celebration and not brave the roads again.