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The Cultures of Panama in Various Sectors

Jul 2, 2008
Panama is known as the Republic of Panama and a former colony of Spaniards. Its population is a mixture of Creoles, mestizo, Europeans, indigenous Indians and Africans. The Panama border connects South and North America in Central America that forms an inverted S. The people of Panama speak mostly of Spanish although English are also widely used for business transactions as Panama is mainly into tourism and banking economy.

The culture of Panama is traced way back when it was conquered by the Spanish. By then, they have embraced Spanish language and cultures. Later, it became a nation that functions as the custodian in shipping by the transisthmus route, with various influences from America and Colombia. The currency Balboa is composed of coins only while the bills are dollars.

The culture of Panama has varied subjects as it follows certain patterns from history. Basically, the smallest and most unit in the society is the family. Guaymi Indians in Panama can have many wives but the traditional culture of Panama only permits one wife. Divorce is legal under Panaman Civil Code. Ideally, a family in Panama is composed of couples who are married and their corresponding children. Husbands tend to live with the house of their wives creating an extended family with the wife's own family living together with them.

In the government culture of Panama, it is into constitutional democracy and follows a pattern of binary system from Colombia. When the US invaded Panama and revolted against Colombia, it restored democracy and developed the Panama Canal that has also been the gateway of diverse influences in Panama.

When it comes to education, the culture of Panama follows a primary level education which was proven to be effective in the Panaman society. The literacy rate of Panama is 90 percent high. It has two major universities for higher education which are the University of Panama and The Catholic University of Santa Maria.

Religion is part of the culture of Panama as 85 percent of the population is Roman Catholics. Their beliefs and practices are typical of Roman Catholics like festivals that celebrate patron saints of towns. The biggest and the most important event in Panama is the Carnaval, a five days event before Ash Wednesday. In Carnaval, single women compete to be the Carnaval Queen where they experience highest symbolic status among municipalities. Meanwhile, blacks from coastal areas celebrate Congo, where the chosen "queen" in their festivity also preside the event. The Congo is performed by dancing of male and female partners every weekend. In Congo, most unmarried couples who lived in usually find new partners during the event.

Basically, men and women are treated equally in Panama. Most women are professionals in the field of commerce, banking, and tourism. They can readily mingle with men while being treated with respect and dignity.

Finally, the culture of Panama is also determined by their industry. Their major economic activity is transshipping and banking. Because international shipping passes through Panama, there are different types of international goods that pass through Panama as well like electronics, automobiles and other luxury goods. So far, agriculture has the lowest return in Panama economy while services render the highest.
About the Author
Laurie Cooper, of Cpanama Real Estate Corp., is an expert on Panama real estate. For more information, please visit www.cpanama.com.
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