Panama Culture in Panama Life

The culture of Panama is a reflection of the different groups people who for different reason settled in the country. Descendants of some native Indian tribes are still present in the Republic of Panama along with European descendants, West Indian, Mestizos, Chinese, North Americans, and other groups who helped make Panama a melting pot. The Republic of Panama cornered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Pacific Ocean to the next is busting with culture.

The Kuna Indians are native to Central America. The tribe living on the islands of San Blas, Panama has managed over the years to keep their culture alive and with good reason. They are pretty much undisturbed by the rest of the population. They live in thatched huts and grow and hunt everything they eat. The Kuna contributes greatly to the culture of Panama and are well known for the Mola. The Mola is the very colorful traditional dress hand made by Kuna Indians and this is considered a work of art. Fibers are intricately woven into layers to reveal patterns and designs. The Mola is a national insignia of Panamanian culture and can be found at souvenir shops and can be seen on display in museums in Panama.

The Embera Indians are located in Darien and are also native to Panama. The Embera are friendly people and are known for truly beautiful crafts. The women of this tribe are expert weavers. They also produce Tagua Nut Carvings which are very popular. Traditionally these Indian art pieces had both a functional and decorative were done for home use but are now being sold to economically sustain the tribes. The arts and crafts of both Kuna and Embera Indians are very important to the culture of Panama. These two Panama cultures are well preserved over centuries contribute to the identity of Panama as a nation.

The official language of Panama is Spanish but over the years with the infiltration of people from different countries other languages are spoken. English is widely spoken in communities with West Indian people and amongst groups of retirees from the United States, Canada and Europe, The Kuna and Embera Indians and other tribes in the country speak their native language. This has influenced culture in Panama.

Dance is important to Panama. Each group of people in Panama has its distinct or unique dance. People of African descent are known for making music and dancing to Conga drums. The People of European descent are known for the May Pole dance. The Panamanian carnival celebrated days before lent brings together the different groups of people. Folkloric music can be heard in the streets along with traditional costumes of the different groups of people.

The Panama culture and traditions of Panama are celebrated in the different festivals held by the different people across the country. The May Pole festival held in Bocas de Toro is traditionally a European festival. The Black Christ festival, a religious festival is celebrated all over Panama. During the festival a statue or idol of Jesus Christ is worshipped. The National Folkloric Festival which began in 1949 in Guarare is aimed at preserving the folkloric culture of Panama.

The Panama culture of the many different ethnic groups in Panama is proudly displayed in museums in the Panama City area and across the country. A very proud people the Panamanians have museums specifically dedicated to different groups giving insights into their traditions, culture and history. Panama has over the centuries preserved much of its culture and traditions which will be very much alive for years to come. Panama’s culture is vibrant and tells a lot its people.


Panama culture is rich and alive and the culture of Panama is infused with the many ethnic groups who once settled and still settle in Panama. The true culture of Panama is found in the cultural melting pot. Native Indian, Europeans, Africans, West Indians, are all contributors to the present culture of Panama. Panamanian culture is handed down, as in the case of the existing Kuna Indians who are native to Central America, who live and practice solely traditional lifestyle and culture. In other more developed areas of Panama, the cultures are fusing, but found in food, music, dance, and ideologies of the Panama people. The Panama cultural influence is evident in Panama life

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