Home > Uncategorized > Paper Mache Crown

Paper Mache Crown

November 18th, 2009 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

paper mache crown

Carnaval Captures Panama’s Colorful Culture

Normally a laid-back rural town, Las Tablas, capital of Panama’s Los Santos province, awakened with the vengeance of a true fiestero this year. Massive floats the size of coast guard cutters, carrying trumpeting bands and towering, brightly colored paper-maché figures, maneuvered through the throng of carnival-goers. The stunning local Las Tablas queens, adorned in painstakingly hand-stitched pollera gowns, feather headdresses and golden crowns, rhythmically gyrated their hips to the beat of the bongos. Fire hoses from second-story balconies sprayed down on the dancing crowd of Calle Abajo, while everyone excitedly chanted “Get up, get up, Calle Abajo!”.

Whether you were rooting for Calle Abajo (downtown) or Calle Arriba (uptown), it seemed as though costumes, feathers, and fluorescent lights were the only things one needed to keep going strong through the night.

Las Tablas is arguably the best town in which to experience Panama’s infamous Carnival celebration, though every town in Los Santos has its own unique celebration. Indeed, it is the region’s strong cultural identity and rich folkloric tradition that have marked it as Panama’s next hotspot.

“We chose this area in large part because of its wonderful heritage and authentic character,” marks Daniel Rudasevski of Andromeda Ocean Estates, a luxury Panama beachfront real estate development in Pedasí, Los Santos.  “Our proximity to Las Tablas and the exuberant celebrations there are a very important part of the appeal to our clients.  In fact, Pedasí is also known for its outstanding fiestas, which though they are on a smaller scale than Las Tablas, have a special flavor all their own.”

Las Tablas becomes the focal point of the country mainly because it’s so exciting to watch the annual “battle” between the Calle Abajo and Calle Arriba sections of town. This past February 16, the two zones once again became steeped in the more than 50-year tradition of trying to outdo one another.

This rich history of gibes and one-upmanship began in the early 1900s, with two distinct religious denominations: La Ermita de la Santa Cruz and Calidonia. Because Spanish colonization was so strong in the region, the Los Santos province was and still is strongly Christian – so much so, that when the religious denominations disagreed about which patron saint to celebrate, the riff divided the town into those from Calle Arriba and those from Calle Abajo.

The La Placita region of Los Tablas soon became the headquarters for Calle Arriba; and Barrio de Punta Fogon, Calle Abajo’s. The two sections of town began gathering the prettiest girls, parading them, while singing their insults to the opposing group. Finally priests intervened, calling their latter-day verbal slams blasphemous under the banner of religious celebrations. Still, Calle Abajo and Calle Arriba kept up their rivalry, having their festivities coincide with those of the European carnival.

The calles began officially electing their respective queens around 1950, setting the stage for the modern-day Carnival, celebrations filled with such pride a rule about families had to be created. It states that if the mother of the family is from Calle Arriba and the father, from Calle Abajo, their children are considered from Calle Arriba, and vice versa. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

Nowadays, floats traversing the massive crowd of the Las Tablas Carnival sport professional sponsorship, fireworks rival those of the US Super Bowl, Calle Abajo and Calle Arriba have their own websites, government agencies and banks close, traditional sancocho (chicken soup with yucca or nyame) is served, and hotels and hostels fill up months in advance. Queens are elected on Friday and Carnival celebrations don’t end until the following Tuesday.

This year’s chosen queens were Noris Edith Vasquez for Calle Abajo, and Mileydis Vargas for Calle Arriba. Carnival days begin with culecos (outdoor dances constantly refreshed by fire hoses) and chanted praise or ridicule of the calles. Nights are filled with wild parties that run until the early morning.

This colorful splash of culture is an integral part of Los Santos’ appeal, and one of the most authentic celebrations in Panama.

About the Author

C Keogan is a journalist and writer living in Central America.  Find out more about Panama Real Estate and Pedasi Real Estate.

Ink My Whole Body Freestyle

eBay Logo  

 Buddha With A Crown of Snails Paper Mache Mask -Handcrafted in Nepal

Buddha With A Crown of Snails Paper Mache Mask -Handcrafted in Nepal


RedSkyTrader Mens Crown Venetian Mask

RedSkyTrader Mens Crown Venetian Mask

This masquerade costume mask is made of paper mache. It is about 6″ wide and 5″ tall. The mask has a crown at the top and bold painted colors.This mask will fit most adults….

RedSkyTrader Women's Day Of the Dead Floral Costume Mask

RedSkyTrader Women’s Day Of the Dead Floral Costume Mask


This Day of the Dead masquerade mask is made of paper mache. The calavera mask is hand painted in black, white, red and yellow designs. Strings of beads dangle on either side. The mask is about 6″ wide and 9″ tall. The red and black floral crown makes the mask about 10″ wide and 11 1/2″ tall. It is secured to the head with ribbon. This mask with a spider web image will be a great addition to a Dia…

Royal Countess Venetian Mask (Black)

Royal Countess Venetian Mask (Black)


Royal Countess Venetian Mask (Black) includes: elegant half mask with intricate glitter decorations and black ribbon ties for comfortable wear….

Papier-Mache Artistry

Papier-Mache Artistry


Death of a Neighborhood Witch (A Jane Austen Mystery)

Death of a Neighborhood Witch (A Jane Austen Mystery)


When Jaine Austen’s beloved cat Prozac unwittingly scares to death a parakeet belonging to the neighbourhood’s resident curmudgeon, Jaine finds herself knee-deep in toil and trouble. The cantankerous Hollywood has-been once played Cryptessa Muldoon, television’s fourth most famous monster mum. Now she spends her days making enemies with everyone on the block. So when the ornery D-lister is murdere…

Jimmie Barnes

Jimmie Barnes


JIMMIE BARNES is a novel that addresses the issue of race in America. The story takes place in 1988 at the tail end of Ronald Reagan’s conservative revolution. Jimmie Barnes is a Mississippi nursing home resident who claims to be well over one hundred years old and a former slave. Jimmie has spent a long lifetime pursuing the return of his father’s slave reparations, his forty acres, at times …

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.