Pine Trees and Snow in Panama

As your probably know, the Isthmus of Panama is located in the tropical Zone which is hot and humid with thick tropical vegetation.  It rains a lot during the wet season, and quite dry during the summer.  In Panama we don’t have natural grown pine trees nor snow, not matter how hard our supermarkets makes us think this is true during the Christmas Holidays.

It’s absolutely ridiculous the amount of money we pay for Canadian pine trees during the month of December.  Another interesting habit of most Panamanians is using snow to decorate their homes during the holidays.  I consider this a cultural brainwashing.  We have been penetrated by cultural patterns of other countries where pine trees and snow is commonplace during the winter time and transplanted this environment to our homes.

I would feel a lot better if our artists, government authorities, community leaders, teachers and other social agents would make our Christmas more authentic and closer to our culture and traditions.  Our festivities should be based on our own environment and not imported from other countries.  Lately, Santa Claus is a lot more important and easily recognized, than baby Jesus in the manger.  Our children even learn how to laugh like Santa, (e.g., Ho, Ho, Ho).

Below is a huge Snow Man in the middle of a mall in Panama City, Panama.  Imagine having a snow man in a country that has no snow.  An example of a cultural asymmetry.  Good Day.

Snapshot of a tall artificial snow man at one of the entrances of MetroMall in Panama City, Panama. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

2 thoughts on “Pine Trees and Snow in Panama”

  1. That truly is strange. I can see Santa being adopted, but you have lovely trees there. I’ve seen them. Why not use those for decoration?

    My own tree is artificial, and a little unusual. Instead of being a northern pine, it’s a double-trunked cedar, just like you’d see growing in the Texas hill country.
    And another “tree” I have is a collection of dogwood branches I brought back from Minnesota. They have a reddish bark, are bare, and look lovely with just a few small baubles.

    Of course we don’t have a white Christmas, either – at least, not often. Our only Christmas eve snow was in 2004, and it’s still called the Christmas miracle by nearly everyone. No matter how hard the merchandisers try, they can’t truck in something like that!

  2. Hi Linda:

    That’s exactly my point. Why not use our lush vegetation to deck our homes during the holidays? Importing pine trees from Canada doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Then in January, they take the dry trees to the beaches and burn them up, together with a couple of boxes of beer and or rum bottles. Viva la Fiesta!



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