Between Religious And The Heathen
And to the beat of clicking castanets, the dirty little devil danced and danced as if it were never going to stop. The unmistaken sound of his castanets melted into the rhythm of his tapping shoes and the thumping bladder.
That’s what the Corpus Christi celebration is all about in the city of Paritas. The party goes on for 60 days following the Easter Sunday with a view to celebrate Eucharist and step up faith in Jesus Christ.
Residents of Paritas mix religious and pagan celebrations. The observance kicks off with Mass at the Parita shrine, followed by the Holy Procession and different dances that add plenty of colorfulness to each and every presentation. During this two-monthlong celebration, different groups are introduced to the public: the Montezuma Española Pariteña, the clean little devils, the dirty little devils, the dance of Cumbembe and the dance of Torito Guapo.
This celebration harks back to the 16th century and in Paritas the tradition has been handed down from one generation to the next. It’s said that Dominican priests were the ones that brought the Corpus Christi observance to Paritas, together with the dancing. And even though so many years have gone by, the celebration still preserves the same kind of music and the motley costumes the dancers wear.
The dance of the little devils usually strikes the attention of attendees. There are dirty and clean little imps –the latter stand for the prevailing of good over evil. The main characters are the angel and the ten little devils that wear gaudy hankies for their dancing.
Visitors from other regions can join the celebration with the local residents because organizers always plan a parade for tourists.
This particular celebration is equally observed in countries like Austria, in some parts of Germany and Switzerland, in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Croatia, Poland, Trinidad & Tobago, and Portugal. In Panama, the party is also held in other cities like Villa de los Santos, but according to some Panamanian historians, Paritas was the first town where the Corpus Christi celebration first took place.
At only 148 miles from Panama City, in the coastal area of the Parita Gulf, an arid and inhospitable landscape makes travelers believe they are in the middle of a desert. That little nook harbors the Sarigua National Park and its highly salinized conditions
The people of Paritas nourish on a cultural past teeming with ethnic and religious riches, traditions that give this town a personality and a character of its own.
There are dirty and clean little imps –the latter stand for the prevailing of good over evil. The main characters are the angel and the ten little devils that wear gaudy hankies for their dancing. Santos’ community takes place every year the fistas of...