Atlas y Calendario de Fiestas del Patrimonio Cultural de Panamá

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The Festive Flags of Panama


[The festive flags are not only used for carnival and popular celebrations, but also for religious ones such as Patron Saint festivities.]

The festive flags are not only used for carnival and popular celebrations, but also for religious ones such as Patron Saint festivities.


[The first step to build the flag is to cut the fabric, usually sateen.]

The first step to build the flag is to cut the fabric, usually sateen.


[Marking the position of the decorative elements that will be sewn in or painted later.]

Marking the position of the decorative elements that will be sewn in or painted later.


[One of the faces of our flag being painted]

One of the faces of our flag being painted


[After being assembled and given a flagpole, our flag is ready for being displayed in folklore events.]

After being assembled and given a flagpole, our flag is ready for being displayed in folklore events.


By:

Marino Jaén Espinosa
2007-06-18

Flags are powerful symbols. They mean different things in different contexts. In Panama, if you see a lot of people marching down the street, dancing to folklore music while following a flag bearer carrying a very colorful flag, chances are that what you are seeing is one of the flags we would try to describe in this article.

Usually associated with the carnival krewes of Calle Arriba or Calle Abajo, the festive flags can represent a very wide range of groups or celebrations. They are made for the purpose of identifying folklore groups or even devotees of the many patron saints held in high esteem in towns all over Panama.

This flags are made of bright, yet resistant fabrics such as sateen, and usually are very colorful for identification purposes. They can be decorated with painted or sewn figures and letters, and feature ribbons on top of the flagpole.

During the event, the flag is given to the standard bearer, who is usually a person who is a distinguished member of the organization or a guest of honor. This person, upon accepting the position, also accepts the obligation of sponsoring certain expenses of the celebration, and thus becoming some sort of godfather of the event.


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