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Festivale in Toro Bravo. Preparation


   Sep 26

Festivale in Toro Bravo. Preparation

Our new Panamanian friends and neighbors invited us to the yearly folklore festival of Toro Bravo a Saturday in September. I had preconceived notion of what that event would entail as there are only 20 families living in Toro Bravo. The festival took place in the village’s Community Center — a significant size open dance floor under roof with one full wall at the back side. Every village here has one.

We planned to go together, meeting at the friends house. There we learned that each year the festival crowns “La Reyna de Festivale” — Queen of the festival, for the coming year. Their daughter, Monica was the outgoing queen of the festival. She was getting her make-up done by her older sister at our arrival.

Just make-up done

Just make-up done. Click for better photo


Her little brother was all dressed up and ready to go. We thought we all go in a moment.
Little brother all ready to go

Little brother all ready to go. Click for better photo


Wrong, apparently she wasn’t even half way done yet.
Not even half way done.

Not even half way done. Click for better photo


Parts of the Pollera (that’s how the dress is called) and jewelry installed, it is the head ornaments turn.
Only parts of Pollera and jewelry installed.

Parts of Pollera and some jewelry installed. Click for better photo


Each of these ornaments — tembleques — is installed one at the time. All carefully installed by the mother, although some painful pinches are inevitable.
Tembleques are installed one at the time.

Tembleques are installed one at the time. Click for better photo

So are all the other components of the elaborate ornament, all hand made by the mother.

Panamanian woman head ornaments

Panamanian woman head ornaments

Quick guide to the complexity of Panamanian women folk attire.

Panamanian woman head ornaments

Panamanian woman jewelery

We realized that dressing the Queen takes teamwork, time, and patience.

Dressing the Queen takes teamwork, time, and patience.

Dressing the Queen takes teamwork, time, and patience. Click for better photo

While patiently waiting the little brother practices dance steps.

Little brother practices dance steps.

Little brother practices dance steps. Click for better photo

Pollera has many components.

Pollera has many components, older sister helping out. Click for better photo

A brief guide to the complex structure of a dress.

Panamanian woman dress - Pollera

Panamanian woman dress - Pollera

Finally the attire is installed and the Queen is ready to go.

Dressing the Queen is complete

Dressing the Queen is finally complete. Click for better photo

We are late an hour from the announced start of the festival, as common in Panama. The Festival can not start without the Queen, and after all, aren’t the common folks supposed to wait for the Queen anyway?

We find the Community Center full of people. Way more than 20 families. The building is decorated with local fruits.

Community Center is decorated with local fruits -- these are lemons

Community Center is decorated with local fruits -- these are lemons. Click for better photo

There is, of course, local produce for sale for very low, local prices …

Local produce

Local produce for sale; local prices. Click for better photo

… and local nutritious food for sale 25 cents a plate.

Local food for sale 25 cents a plate

Local food food for sale 25 cents a plate. Click for better photo

Now you may think the Queen is the only one in the Panamanian Pollera, head ornaments, and jewelery. Think again, there are countless young ladies displaying the amazing folk art and love of their culture of their mothers.

The art of mothers on display

The art of mothers making the dresses and ornaments on display. Click for better photo

After brief greetings and “Como Esta!” (How’dy) the Queen and Princesses are ready for festivities.

The Queen and Princesses are Ready

The Queen and the Princesses are ready for the festivities Click for better photo

That triggers very brief opening speeches from the official sponsors — Panama Education Department — MEDUCA and the party can begin. Next part comes soon, stay tuned

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