Panama’s National Public Holidays

How customs and traditions are typically observed for Panama’s National Public Holidays.

Dia Feriado is the Spanish phrase for holiday. Due to its diversity, Panama celebrates an interesting mix of cultural and religious holidays. Some provinces have their own unique celebrations, too, so be sure to check into those if you’re interested!

Panama may observe holidays a little differently from your home country. Here’s an overview of some of the customs:

  • When national holidays fall on a weekend, workers will have the following Monday off with pay. November is the heaviest month for holidays and businesses may want to plan accordingly by scheduling less work and more vacations during this time. If there is one “work day” between a holiday and a weekend, many employees will take that day off (whether scheduled or not!).
  • Banks, government offices, schools and some businesses are closed. ATM machines often run out of funds, so plan ahead if you’ll require cash.
  • The sale of alcohol is forbidden on some holidays from noon the day before until noon the day after. Drinking in public is illegal (although you may see it happening!) and may potentially result in a fine or arrest. DUI laws also apply.
  • Carnival, a huge “street festival” which is the local version of Brazil’s Mardi Gras, is the largest celebration in Panama and attracts thousands of participants. With so many people out celebrating, street crime could be a concern, so stay vigilant if you join in the festivities. Water is often sprayed in public, so be prepared to get wet! Remember also that there can be heavy traffic during holidays and plan accordingly.

Here is a list of Panama’s national and public holidays for 2014.

 

Weekday Date Holiday name Holiday type
Wednesday Jan 1 New Year’s Day National holiday
Monday Jan 13 Martyr´s Day National holiday
Saturday Mar 1 Carnival Observance
Sunday Mar 2 Carnival Observance
Monday Mar 3 Carnival National holiday
Tuesday Mar 4 Carnival/Shrove Tuesday National holiday
Wednesday Mar 5 Carnival/Ash Wednesday National holiday
Thursday Apr 17 Maundy Thursday (½ day) Christian, Common Local holiday
Friday Apr 18 Good Friday National holiday, Christian
Saturday Apr 19 Holy Saturday Observance, Christian
Sunday Apr 20 Easter Day Observance, Christian
Thursday May 1 Labor Day / May Day National holiday
Friday Aug 15 Foundation of Old Panama City Common Local holiday
Monday Nov 3 Independence Day National holiday
Tuesday Nov 4 Flag Day Common Local holiday
Wednesday Nov 5 Colon Day National holiday
Monday Nov 10 Shout in Villa de los Santos National holiday
Friday Nov 28 Independence from Spain National holiday
Monday Dec 1 Day off for Independence from Spain National holiday
Monday Dec 8 Mother’s Day National holiday
Wednesday Dec 24 Christmas Eve (½ day) Common Local holiday
Thursday Dec 25 Christmas Day National holiday, Christian
Wednesday Dec 31 New Year’s Eve ( ½ day) Common Local holiday