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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.

 

WeekdayDateHoliday nameHoliday type
WednesdayJan 1New Year’s DayNational holiday
MondayJan 13Martyr´s DayNational holiday
SaturdayMar 1CarnivalObservance
SundayMar 2CarnivalObservance
MondayMar 3CarnivalNational holiday
TuesdayMar 4Carnival/Shrove TuesdayNational holiday
WednesdayMar 5Carnival/Ash WednesdayNational holiday
ThursdayApr 17Maundy Thursday (½ day)Christian, Common Local holiday
FridayApr 18Good FridayNational holiday, Christian
SaturdayApr 19Holy SaturdayObservance, Christian
SundayApr 20Easter DayObservance, Christian
ThursdayMay 1Labor Day / May DayNational holiday
FridayAug 15Foundation of Old Panama CityCommon Local holiday
MondayNov 3Independence DayNational holiday
TuesdayNov 4Flag DayCommon Local holiday
WednesdayNov 5Colon DayNational holiday
MondayNov 10Shout in Villa de los SantosNational holiday
FridayNov 28Independence from SpainNational holiday
MondayDec 1Day off for Independence from SpainNational holiday
MondayDec 8Mother’s DayNational holiday
WednesdayDec 24Christmas Eve (½ day)Common Local holiday
ThursdayDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
WednesdayDec 31New Year’s Eve ( ½ day)Common Local holiday

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