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A Panama tradition: The village of Macaracas, located in the province of Los Santos on the Azuero Peninsula, celebrates Epiphany or Three Kings Day. January 6 of every year, the arrival of the Thee Kings is commemorated with a dramatization on the main square in Macaracas.
This dramatization is one of only few samples of popular theater, a Panama tradition. Other examples of popular theater are seen at Corpus Christi in La Villa de Los Santos, the Tamarind Duel in Ocú and the live dramatizations for Easter Week in different villages and cities of Panama.
The celebration of Epiphany in Macaracas is the only religous popular theater play realized that day in all Central America. Additionally, this Panama tradition is very antique: The dramatizations in Macaracas have been organized since 1820. At the beginning, the presentations were held on the houses’ portals but since 1971 the celebration takes place on the Plaza Rogelio Gelo Córdoba where there is more space for the thousands of spectators that come to see the dramatization every year.
What hasn’t changed in the almost 200 years of this Panama tradition of presenting the arrival of the Three Kings in Macaracas is the fact, that all the actors are people from the village. In their majority they are young actors that haven’t received formal stage training, however, thanks to their enthusiasm and passion for this Panama tradition they manage to present a great show every January 6. In total more than 20 actors accompanied by hundreds of shepherd boys walk through the village of Macaracas to the main square in front of the church. In the drama, also a dozen horses participate.
Beside the dramatization of the Three Kings, the festival in Macaracas for this Panama tradition also includes live music – mejorana and singing – and during the day “junta de cortar arroz” (rice cutting group) and “junta de embarre” (mud hut building group) as well as traditional weddings and baptisms.
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