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The Holy Spirit orchid fair
The Holy Spirit Flower Fair has been celebrated for the last 15 years in the municipality of Minas, province of Herrera, to pay homage to this orchid which was declared as the national flower in 1980. This year the fair will run from Thursday, September 3 to Sunday, September 6 in Las Minas´s main streets.
The fair is the initiative of a group of orchidologists, seeking to educate the public about orchids and especially the rare Holy Spirit flower.
The fair celebrates the culture of the region, with presentations by national artists and folk groups; followed by parades, cantaderas, shouting and saloma contests, popular dances, discos and gastronomy, candies and drinks.
The Holy Spirit Flower is acknowledged as one of the most beautiful orchids in the world, due to its striking bright white petals resembling doves. This slow growing orchid, is in danger of extinction, due to the number of specimens collected in the wild and also to deforestation.
There have been several efforts to raise awareness for the protection and preservation of this national symbol that abounded near the rivers and streams of Herrera.
Despite Panama’s weather being ideal for the development of the orchid, it is not so easy to reproduce naturally, because the plant takes up to a year to germinate once pollinated and it is not until the fourth year that it successfully reproduces naturally.
The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) together with the Taiwanese Government, have been working since 2009 in a laboratory located in Capira to reproduce the flower by using in vitro insemination and to save this endangered specie from extinction.
Every year the laboratory reproduces through the in vitro technique between 3,000 to 5,000 seedlings of the Holy Spirit flower, which are distributed to various foundations, associations for the defense of the environment, schools and other institutions.
The Holy Spirit Flower Fair will showcase unique plants from the region and various species of orchids from around the country.