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Panama’s Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Central and South America and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States. It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008 the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO
This year it falls on Wednesday, November 2, and it is the time that Panamanians and residents dedicate to remember their departed loved ones and clean their graves. Almost every cemetery in the country is full of people bringing flowers, scrubbing headstones and taking weeds from the ground. Most of the Government’s ceremonies will take place at the Amador Cemetery, located in El Chorrillo neighborhood, where the founders of the Republic are buried.
Although it is not a national holiday, there are certain restrictions which are imposed as a sign of respect.
Government offices will only work until midday and some private companies will close. That will depend on the management.
The use of sound equipment, strident music and activities such as dances, karaoke, concerts which have performances by orchestras or groups are strictly prohibited. All the provinces in Panama follow this norm, so make sure that your music is turned down to a minimum to avoid a fine.
No alcohol can be sold in cantinas, off-licences, bars, restaurants, shops and supermarkets on that day. Those who disobey this decree can receive fines as high as $1,000. During that period there is a lot of vigilance in restaurants and bars. Supermarkets normally surround spirits, wine and beer with a plastic tape to prevent people from buying alcohol.