How Panama Celebrates New Year’s Eve? 15 Things You Don’t Know

Panama, a little country in Central America, has a wealth of wildlife and scenic landscapes. People here eagerly wait for new year’s Eve and celebrate it amazingly. But how Panama Celebrates New Year’s Eve?

Let’s discuss this all in detail.

How Panama Celebrates New Year’s Eve? 

Here is how Panama Celebrates New Year’s Eve.

The Tradition of the “Año Viejo”

In Panama, the “Año Viejo” (Old Year) tradition holds great significance. It involves the creation of effigies or scarecrows made from old clothes and stuffed with sawdust, newspaper, and firecrackers. These effigies represent the old year and are placed outside homes or in public areas. 

At midnight, they are set ablaze to symbolize the farewell to the past and the welcoming of the new year.

Fireworks Spectaculars at Cinta Costera

The Cinta Costera, a scenic coastal boulevard in Panama City, comes alive on New Year’s Eve with dazzling fireworks displays. 

Families and friends gather along the waterfront to witness these breathtaking spectacles, filling the night sky with bursts of colors and lights. 

The vibrant fireworks symbolize the excitement and hope for a prosperous year ahead.

Festive Family Gatherings

New Year’s Eve in Panama is primarily a time for families to come together and celebrate. Relatives and loved ones gather in homes for festive dinners and quality time. 

It is a joyous occasion where families reminisce about the past year’s achievements and share their hopes and dreams for the upcoming year.

Traditional Panamanian Food and Drinks

Food plays a significant role in Panama’s New Year’s celebrations. Families indulge in traditional dishes such as arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), tamales, and hojaldres (fried dough). 

These delicacies are prepared with love and are meant to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. 

To accompany the feast, Panamanians raise a glass of seco, a traditional sugarcane liquor, or champagne to toast to new beginnings.

Street Parties and Music Festivals

Panama City’s streets come alive with vibrant street parties and music festivals on New Year’s Eve. People of all ages gather in public squares and designated party areas to dance, sing, and enjoy live music performances. 

The festive atmosphere is contagious, with locals and tourists joining the celebration and creating lasting memories.

The Significance of Wearing Yellow Underwear

One peculiar tradition in Panama involves wearing yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve. Yellow is believed to bring good luck, happiness, and prosperity in the coming year. 

Panamanians embrace this tradition and flock to stores for yellow undergarments to wear as they welcome the new year.

The Tradition of Burning Effigies

In addition to the “Año Viejo” tradition, Panamanians also burn effigies that represent negative aspects or events of the past year. 

These effigies are often shaped like politicians, cartoon characters, or symbols associated with unfortunate events. 

Burning these effigies symbolizes the desire to leave behind negativity and start anew with optimism and positivity.

Religious Celebrations and Masses

For those who embrace religious traditions, attending midnight masses or special church services is a common practice on New Year’s Eve in Panama.

 Churches throughout the country hold solemn ceremonies, offering prayers and blessings for a prosperous year ahead. 

These religious gatherings provide a moment of reflection and gratitude for the blessings received.

Making New Year’s Resolutions

Like people worldwide, Panamanians also engage in the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. It is a time for self-reflection and setting goals for personal growth and improvement. 

Whether it’s adopting healthier habits, pursuing new career aspirations, or strengthening relationships, Panamanians approach the new year with a determination to make positive changes in their lives.

Welcoming the New Year at Beaches and Resorts

Panama’s picturesque beaches and luxurious resorts offer an idyllic setting to welcome the new year. 

Many people choose to spend New Year’s Eve at popular beach destinations like Bocas del Toro, San Blas Islands, or Coronado. 

They enjoy beach parties, bonfires, and spectacular fireworks displays while relishing the beauty of Panama’s natural surroundings.

The Festive Atmosphere in Panama City

Panama City, the capital of Panama, radiates a festive spirit on New Year’s Eve. 

The city’s iconic skyline lights up with elaborate decorations, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. Restaurants, bars, and clubs host special events and parties, attracting locals and tourists alike. 

The city’s energy and enthusiasm make it an ideal place to ring in the new year with style.

Spectacular Countdowns and Light Displays

Panama City hosts spectacular countdown events in various locations, including the famous Plaza Catedral and Plaza de Francia. These events feature live music performances, vibrant light displays, and countdowns to midnight. The atmosphere is electric, with thousands of people eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new year.

Traditional Folk Dances and Performances

Traditional folk dances and performances during New Year’s celebrations showcase Panama’s rich cultural heritage. Colorful costumes, rhythmic music, and energetic dance routines captivate audiences. 

These traditional performances are a testament to Panama’s diverse cultural roots and serve as a source of pride for the nation.

The Legend of La Mujer de Fuego

Panama has its share of legends and folklore associated with New Year’s celebrations. One such legend is that of La Mujer de Fuego, or the Woman of Fire. According to the tale, a mysterious woman dressed in flames roams the streets on New Year’s Eve, symbolizing the burning away of the old year’s troubles and misfortunes.


Is New Year’s Eve a public holiday in Panama?

Yes, New Year’s Eve is a public holiday in Panama, and businesses and schools are generally closed.

What is the significance of wearing yellow underwear?

Wearing yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve is believed to bring good luck, happiness, and prosperity in the coming year.

Are there any specific traditional dishes associated with New Year’s celebrations in Panama?

Yes, traditional dishes like arroz con pollo, tamales, and hojaldres are commonly enjoyed during New Year’s celebrations in Panama.

What are some popular beach destinations in Panama to celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Bocas del Toro, San Blas Islands, and Coronado are popular beach destinations in Panama for celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Are there any superstitions or customs unique to New Year’s celebrations in Panama?

Yes, the tradition of burning effigies representing negative aspects of the past year and the legend of La Mujer de Fuego are some unique customs associated with New Year’s celebrations in Panama.

Let’s Close The Book

New Year’s celebrations in Panama are a vibrant blend of traditions, festivities, and cultural expressions. From the burning of effigies to fireworks spectaculars, family gatherings, and religious ceremonies, Panamanians embrace the arrival of the new year with enthusiasm and hope. 

The customs and rituals observed during these celebrations reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage and the collective desire for a prosperous future.

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