Maundy Thursday in Panama

Maundy Thursday, known as Jueves Santo in Panama, is an important Christian holiday that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. This event is considered to be the beginning of the Easter celebrations in the country and is observed with different traditions and customs.

In Panama, Maundy Thursday is observed on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. The date changes every year, as it follows the lunar calendar, with Easter falling on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.


The celebration of Maundy Thursday in Panama can be traced back to the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. The Spanish brought their Roman Catholic faith along with their customs, and Jueves Santo became an integral part of the Holy Week celebrations. As Panama's population grew and the country developed its own identity, the celebration of Maundy Thursday continued to evolve, incorporating both national and local customs.


National customs for Maundy Thursday in Panama

One of the most significant national customs for Maundy Thursday in Panama is the tradition of visiting seven churches. This practice, known as "Visita Iglesia," involves visiting different churches to pray and reflect on the Stations of the Cross. It is believed that this tradition is a way of showing penance and devotion to Jesus Christ.

Another important custom during Maundy Thursday in Panama is the preparation of traditional foods. Families often come together to prepare and share meals that are symbolic of the Last Supper. Some of the common dishes include bacalao (salted codfish), arroz con guandĂș (rice with pigeon peas), and various desserts made from fruits like guava and pineapple.

Local customs for Maundy Thursday in Panama

Local customs for Maundy Thursday in Panama vary from one region to another. In the countryside, it is common for people to create elaborate altars in their homes, dedicated to the Last Supper. These altars often feature an image of Jesus Christ, surrounded by candles, flowers, and other decorations.

In the cities, particularly in the capital, Panama City, various religious processions take place on Maundy Thursday. These processions often involve participants carrying images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, accompanied by music, prayers, and incense. The solemn atmosphere of these processions is a stark contrast to the festive celebrations of Carnaval, which takes place just a few weeks earlier.


Maundy Thursday, or Jueves Santo, is an essential part of the Holy Week celebrations in Panama. With its roots in the Spanish colonization of the country, the customs and traditions observed on this day have evolved over time to incorporate both national and local elements. From the Visita Iglesia to the preparation of traditional foods and the solemn processions, Maundy Thursday in Panama is a day of reflection, devotion, and familial togetherness as the country prepares for the culmination of Holy Week and the celebration of Easter Sunday.