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Aug 30

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The Devil in Panama Carnival

Mask of Panama Carnival devil

Whether you spell it Carnaval or Carnival, the fiesta begins the week before Lent begins and culminates the day before Ash Wednesday. Lent is the 40 day period of abstinence that lead up to Easter in the Catholic faith.

In Panama, it’s traditional that “devils” will be a big part of the festival, whether in Panama City, Bocas del Toro, or anywhere in between. These costumed creatures are symbolically meant to scare evil spirits away with their antics.

The larger the devil the more frightening and effective it is supposed to be, and those who wear the costumes covet the most impressive ones. It has become quite the competition. If you can overtake one as a regular person, then the next year you’ll be able to wear that devil costume. If you’re already costumed and succeed, the loser’s costume will be yours next year.

The devils are also known for doing mischievous things, like smacking people with a whip if they are challenged, so be careful!

Further reading

Other posts about Carnival in Panama include:

We have more about Bocas del Toro, as well:

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  1. Christoffer Moen

    Wow, pretty interesting how the effigy looks similar to the Japanese oni, a type of devil in their folklore.
    Christoffer Moen recently posted…Hacking Car Rentals and How to Get a Free UpgradeMy Profile

    1. Linda

      That is curious. Now you have me wondering why.

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