ExperiencesCultureIn Las Tablas: The Saint and National Dress
Anna Gabriela Furnari Deleuze, national pollera queen

In Las Tablas: The Saint and National Dress

By: Panorama of the Americas Editorial Board

Th e day of St. Librada, patron saint of Las Tablas, is feted in style in this inland city in the Panamanian province of Los Santos. In the days leading up to the festival, pilgrims arrive in town on foot from around the province. Local residents along the route off er food and water. Th e pilgrims are coming to participate in a mass procession in honor of the saint —held on the night of the 19th— that parades through the city’s main streets.

After the religious celebration, a parallel folklife festival has its moment. Th is is the National Pollera Festival, a tribute to Panamanian national dress, as endorsed by government decree.

On July 6, Anna Gabriela Furnari Deleuze, national pollera queen, will enter Las Tablas wearing a pollera montuna and dancing tamborito. The tamborito competition will also be held that day. Th e coronation takes place on the 13th, and there will be competitions in children’s polleras, men’s dress shirts, and hats. On the 19th, after paying tribute to St. Librada, the queen will ascend the stage in front of the church and dance to music composed especially for her by Muis Casal. The rest of the night, serenades and tributes to the saint will sound until dawn.

Imagen de santa Librada, patrona de las Tablas.
Patron Saint of Las Tablas
Ana Gabriela Furnari Deleuze, reina nacional de la pollera
Ana Gabriela Furnari Deleuze, National Pollera Queen

The folklore competitions will begin soon: the violin competition is held on the 20th, while shirts and hats compete on the 21st. The main event, the magnificent pollera competition, will be held on the 22nd.

Polleras montunas, polleras galas, and other variations with different types of fabrics and embroidery will be judged, with particular attention to the grace
and flair of the wearer. The festival ends on the 23rd with the accordion competition.

This festival melding religious tradition and folklore represents a syncretism particular to Panama.

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