and Devil Festival":
A dancing devil in Portobelo.
Photo: Yolande Vicente.
of Portobelo, on the Caribbean coast, will host its annual "Devil
and Congo Festival" on March 3. Held since 1999, the festival
is a tribute to two deeply-rooted cultural traditions of the Costa
culture" is an African-accented subgenre of Panamanian folklore,
in which dancers recreate the mockery of their enslaved ancestors
against Spanish colonial rule. Devils –an element introduced
by Roman Catholicism-- participate in colorful choreographies along
with the Congo queen, king and their "pajaritos" (children).
culture is strong in the entire Costa Arriba (Upper Coast) region
of the province of Colón, with Portobelo being the strongest
bastion of the tradition.
100 km northeast of Panama City, Portobelo is a sleepy coastal community
that was once the center of commerce in the Western Hemisphere during
the colonial period. It has a number of old forts and castles which
once protected it from the attack of pirates. Its deep harbor is one
of Panama's best diving destinations.
on the fair in our coming issues.