We spent New Year’s Eve in our street, and it was quite the street party! We also learned a lot about Panamanian New Year’s traditions. There were the expected fireworks all over the neighborhood, and we continue to be surprised and honored by the hospitality of our neighbors. Everyone invited us to join them and shared a holiday drink or treat.
The highlight was the muñeco! It’s a scarecrow sort of thing, clothes stuffed to look like a person but it was also stuffed with a lot of fireworks! Late in the evening they tied it up to the stop sign at the end of the street. Then, at midnight they set it on fire to symbolize all the negative things from last year going up in flames.
I’ve done bit of research to find out more about some other things I’ve seen. We saw bunches of wheat or rice for sale downtown. They are hung behind the door for prosperity. The bread we saw for sale everywhere must be the rosca de huevo (egg bread) that is served at holiday dinners. We saw our neighbor bring out a bowl of grapes at midnight to eat 12 grapes and make 12 wishes. We certainly have seen all the cleaning and fixing up going on everywhere in the neighborhood all last month. We haven’t seen anyone walking around with a suitcase or some of the other traditions I read about, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t also going on.
Here’s a taste of the New Years celebrations on our street.
A related article that Zemanta brought up