Culture of Panama

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Panamanian culture is a hybrid of African, Native Panamanian, and European culture - specifically Spanish. For example, the tamborito is a Spanish dance that was blended with Native American rhythms and dance moves. Dance is a symbol of the diverse cultures that have coupled in Panama. The local folklore can be experienced through a multitude of festivals, dances and traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Culture of Africa

The culture of Africa is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of countries with various tribes that each have their own unique characteristic from the continent of Africa. It is a product of the diverse populations that today inhabit the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora. African culture is expressed in its arts and crafts, folklore and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. Expressions of culture are abundant within Africa, with large amounts of cultural diversity being found not only across different countries but also within single countries. Even though African cultures are widely diverse, they are also, when closely studied, seen to have many similarities. For example, the morals they uphold, their love and respect for their culture as well as the strong respect they hold for the gods they believe in and the important i.e. Kings and Chiefs.

Indigenous peoples of Panama

Indigenous peoples of Panama, or Native Panamanians, are the native peoples of Panama. According to the 2010 census, they make up 12.3% of the overall population of 3.4 million, or just over 418,000 people. The Guaymí and Ngöbe-Buglé comprise half of the indigenous peoples of Panama.

Panama Republic in Central America

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.


Panamanian cuisine

Arepa de huevo - Arepa with egg. Arepa de huevo.jpg
Arepa de huevo - Arepa with egg.

Panamanian Cuisine is a mix of African, Spanish, and Native American techniques, dishes, and ingredients, reflecting its diverse population. Since Panama is a land bridge between two continents, it has a large variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in native cooking.

Typical Panamanian foods are mildly flavored, without the pungency of some of Panama's Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. Common ingredients are corn, rice, wheat flour, plantains, yuca (cassava), beef, chicken, pork and seafood.(in Panama they call this example tortilla,because the arepas are from Colombia)

Rice cereal grain and seed of Oryza sativa

Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima. As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production, after sugarcane and maize.

Wheat Cereal grain

Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus Triticum; the most widely grown is common wheat.

Cassava Species of plant

Manihot esculenta, commonly called cassava, manioc, yuca, macaxeira, mandioca, aipim and Brazilian arrowroot, is a woody shrub native to South America of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Though it is often called yuca in Spanish and in the United States, it is not related to yucca, a shrub in the family Asparagaceae. Cassava, when dried to a powdery extract, is called tapioca; its fried, granular form is named garri.


Panamanian historian and essayist Rodrigo Miró (1912-1996) cites Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés as the author of the first Panamanian literary work, the story of a character named Andrea de la Roca, which was published as part of the "Historia General y Natural de Las Indias" (1535). However, the first manifestations of literature written in Panama come from the 17th century with the title of "Llanto de Panamá a la muerte de don Enrique Enríquez" (Crying from Panama at the Death of Don Enrique Enríquez). Although this anthology was formed during the Colony, most of the poems in it were written by authors born in Panama.

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés Spanish historian

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés was a Spanish historian and writer. He is commonly known as "Oviedo" even though his family name is Fernández. He participated in the Spanish colonization of the Caribbean, and wrote a long chronicle of this project which is one of the few primary sources about it. For three centuries, only a small portion of it was published, which was widely read in the 16th century in Spanish, English and French editions.

Other Panamanian writers working during Spanish Colony: Mateo Rosas de Oquendo, author of an autobiographic romance; Juan de Miramontes y Zuázola, author of "Armas Antárticas" (Antarctic Weapons); Juan de Páramo y Cepeda, author of "Alteraciones del Dariel" (Dariel Alterations); and others.

During the 19th century, the romantics: Manuel María Ayala (1785–1824) and Tomás Miró Rubini (1800–1881). Subsequently appeared José María Alemán (1830–1887), Gil Colunje (1831–1899), Tomás Martín Feuillet (1832–1899), José Dolores Urriola (1834–1883), Amelia Denis de Icaza (1836–1911), Manuel José Pérez (1837–1895), Jerónimo de la Ossa (1847–1907), Federico Escobar (1861–1912) and Rodolfo Caicedo (1868–1905).

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

Tomás Martín Feuillet (1832–1862) was a Panamian romantic poet. One of his poems is titled How Much?

Amelia Denis de Icaza Panamanian poet

Amelia Denis de Icaza was a Panamanian romantic poet. She was the first Panamanian woman to publish her poetry.

The modernists: Darío Herrera (1870–1914), León Antonio Soto (1874–1902), Guillermo Andreve (1879–1940), Ricardo Miró (1883–1940), Gaspar Octavio Hernández (1893–1918), María Olimpia de Obaldía (1891–1985), and Demetrio Korsi (1899–1957).

Modernism movement of art, culture and philosophy

Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by reactions of horror to World War I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief.

Darío Herrera (1870-1914) was a Panamanian Modernismo poet and diplomat. He placed great importance on the example given by contemporary French writing.

Ricardo Miró Panamanian writer

Ricardo Miró Denis, was a Panamanian writer and is considered to be the most noteworthy poet of this country.

The Avant-garde movement: Rogelio Sinán (1902–1994), Ricardo J. Bermúdez (1914-), Mario Augusto Rodríguez (1917-2009), José María Núñez (1894–1990), Stella Sierra, Roque Javier Laurenza, Ofelia Hooper, Tobías Díaz Blaitry (1919–2006), Moisés Castillo (1899–1974), Gil Blas Tejeira (1901–1975), Alfredo Cantón (1910-1967), José María Sánchez (1918–1973), Ramón H. Jurado (1922–1978), Joaquín Beleño (1921), Carlos Francisco Changmarín (1922), Jorge Turner (1922), and Tristán Solarte (1924)

Avant-garde works that are experimental or innovative

The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.

Rogelio Sinán Panamanian Writer Known In Latin America For Writing His Masterpiece "The Red Beret"

Rogelio Sinán was the pseudonym of Panamanian writer Bernardo Domínguez Alba. He went to universities in Chile and Italy before becoming a consul to Calcutta. He has written plays, short stories and novels, but is best known for his poetry. His work has been termed Avant-garde and he is a winner of the Premio Ricardo Miró.

Stella Sierra (1917–1997) was a Panamanian poet and prose writer. Her works centred mainly on love, nature and the joys of living.

Working during the second half of the 20th century: Tristán Solarte (1934), José de Jesús Martínez, Diana Morán (1932), Alvaro Menéndez Franco (1932), José Guillermo Ross-Zanet (1930), José Franco (1931), Elsie Alvarado de Ricord (1928–2005), Benjamín Ramón (1939), Bertalicia Peralta (1939), Ramón Oviero (1939–2008), Moravia Ochoa López (1941), Dimas Lidio Pitty (1941-2015), Roberto Fernández Iglesias (1941), Eric Arce (1942), Enrique Jaramillo Levi (1944), Jarl Ricardo Babot (1945), Ernesto Endara (1932), Enrique Chuez (1934), Justo Arroyo (1936), Rosa María Britton (1936), Victoria Jiménez Vélez (1937), Pedro Rivera (1939), Gloria Guardia (1940), Dimas Lidio Pitty (1941), Mireya Hernández (1942–2006), Raúl Leis (1947-2010), and Giovanna Benedetti (1949).

And the most recent writers: Manuel Orestes Nieto (1951), Moisés Pascual (1955), Consuelo Tomás (1957), Yolanda Hackshaw (1958), Allen Patiño (1959), Ariel Barría Alvarado (1959), Héctor Collado (1960), Gonzalo Menéndez González (1960), David Robinson Orobio (1960), Erika Harris (1963), Rogelio Guerra Ávila (1963), Carlos Fong (1967), Alexander Zanches (1968), Katia Chiari (1969), Porfirio Salazar (1970), Javier Stanziola (1971), Carlos Oriel Wynter Melo (1971), José Luis Rodríguez Pittí (1971), Eyra Harbar Gomez (1972), Melanie Taylor (1972), Salvador Medina Barahona (1973), Roberto Pérez-Franco (1976), Gloria Melania Rodríguez (1981), and Javier Alvarado (1982).


Present day Panamanian music has been influenced first by the Cuevas Gunas or Kunas, Teribes, Ngöbe–Buglé and other indigenous populations, since the 16th century by the European musical traditions, especially those from the Iberian Peninsula, and then by the black population who were brought over, first as slaves from West Africa, between the 16th and 19th centuries, and then voluntarily (especially from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad, Saint Lucia) to work on the Panamanian Railroad and Canal projects between the 1840s and 1914. With this heritage, Panama has a rich and diverse music history, and important contributions to Cumbia, Saloma, Pasillo, Punto, Tamborito, Mejorana, Bolero, Jazz, Salsa, Reggae, Calypso, Rock and other musical genres. Not all people in Panama choose to listen to Spanish music. Some choose to listen to something they call "soca" music. So to summarize, if you are from Panama, you are considered mixed:, American, Hispanic, and from the islands.

The arts

Visual arts

Another example of Panama’s blended culture is reflected in the traditional products, such as woodcarvings, ceremonial masks and pottery, as well as in its architecture, cuisine, history and festivals. In earlier times, baskets were woven for utilitarian uses, but now many villages rely almost exclusively on the baskets they produce for the people.

The Kuna people are known for molas, the elaborate embroidered panels that make up the front and back of a Kuna woman's blouse. Originally the Kuna word for blouse, the term mela now refers to the several layers of cloth varying in color that are loosely stitched closely together made using a reverse appliqué process.

The most renowned Panamanian painters are Hernando de la Cruz  [ es ] (1592 1646) ,Manuel Encarnacion Amador  [ es ] (1869 1952),Alberto Dutary (1928-1997),Etanislao Arias Peña, (1952 -2003), Adriano Herrerabarría [1] , Roberto Lewis. Pablo Runyan [2] o Rodolfo Antonio Méndez Vargas.


The best overview of Panamanian culture is found in the Museum of the Panamanian, in Panama City. Other views can be found at the Museum of Panamanian History, the Museum of Natural Sciences, the Museum of Religious Colonial Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of the Interoceanic Canal, and the national institutes of culture and music.

A number of museums located in smaller communities throughout Panama's interior strive to preserve numerous aspects of the country's pre-Columbian, colonial and post-independence heritage. Examples include the Museum of Nationality in Los Santos, located in an original colonial home and exhibiting relics from the region’s pre-Columbian inhabitants, colonial period and nascent struggle for independence from Spain. The Herrera Museum was ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Chitre by Lonely Planet travelers. The two-story museum includes permanent exhibits covering the pre-Hispanic period, the region’s first mammals, and the contact between the Spanish and the natives. The main highlight of the second floor is a carefully constructed replica of the burial site of the Indian chief (Cacique) Parita.

An additional museum will soon be opening in Chitre as part of a unique tourism/residential project currently being developed. The Cubitá Museum will allow visitors and residents the opportunity to explore the variety of cultural influences that have shaped the history, art and folklore of the Azuero Peninsula, and to appreciate the unique and painstakingly crafted work of local artisans.

A scholarly analysis of Panamanian Museums, their history, exhibitions and social, political and economic contexts is available in the 2011 book "Panamanian Museums and Historical Memory". [3]

See also

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  1. "EDITORA PANAMA AMERICA: historia de Panamá". 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  2. "Pintores Panameños: PABLO RUNYAN". Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  3. Sánchez Laws, Ana Luisa (2011). Panamanian Museums and Historical Memory. Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN   978-0-85745-240-5.