The Festival of Corpus Christi, held 60 days after the Good Friday, is emblematic demonstration of Panama's culture. Held in the central cities of Chitre and Los Santos, the festival of Corpus Christi was introduced to Panama by the Catholic Church during the early years of the Spanish colonial era.
In different Spanish-speaking countries, Corpus Christi celebrations got a new twist with some local flavour. For example, in Barcelona they have a peculiar dancing egg (L'ou сom Balla) tradition. In Machu Picchu and Cusco area of Peru, the holiday is a mixture of Catholic and Inca traditions.
In Panama, the traditional religious processions of Corpus Christi, led by a cross and conducted in silence, gradually were substituted by “dirty” and “clean” devils, dancing to the rhythm of a bell or castanets, and by masquerades in which men dressed up as bulls and chase the public all over the streets. The gangs of “dirty” Devils, who represent evil, are made up of about 15 men dressed in striped red-and-black suits and hideous brightly-painted masks with horns crowned with about 40 macaw tail feathers. The “dirty” devils, as well as the “clean” ones – whose masks and costumes have no decorations – together with the masqueraded men (men dressed as women) – parade and dance on the streets, plazas and parks. On the last day of the festival, they all come together in a colourful and festive procession where the “Great Devil” is defeated by the “clean” Devils, who force him out of the temple. Corpus Christi Festival will surprise and immense you, your friends, and children with its highly elaborated dramatic performance.