Approximately 55% of the Panamanian population is Catholic, therefore Easter is celebrated with Holy Week Processions in Casco Viejo and in other parts of the country. The Diocese of Panama is believed to be the oldest in the Americas. It was installed in 1514, with the arrival of the Franciscan missionaries. These faith traditions were inherited many centuries ago and are still upheld for all who want to participate or observe.
The Old Town of Panama has seven churches in a monumental complex of 12 streets. Those who want to go see the Holy Week Processions in Casco Viejo can park at the south gate on 13th street, at the MOP located on 9th street, at Paseo de las Banderas in the entrance to the maritime stretch or in front of the Panama Fish Market on the Balboa Avenue free of charge. There are also parking lots in front of the San Felipe Neri Market and on Avenida Demetrio H. Brid that have a cost.
There will be three Red Cross posts in Casco Viejo with tents, ambulances and medical personnel to provide first aid if necessary. The first post is on west 6th street, the second on 1st street and the third post on Pedro Sosa with Santiago street. Similarly, the cleaning staff was working extended hours from Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 9, 2023.
Holy Week Processions in Casco Viejo
There are going to be four Holy Week Processions in Casco Viejo in 2023. The first is on Friday of Sorrows which falls on March 31st. This procession is the meeting of the Crucified Christ and the Virgin of the Sorrowful organized by the brotherhood of Christ the Redeemer of the Good Death. The second procession is on Holy Thursday of Christ Nazarene organized by the Brotherhood of Jesus Nazarene. The third procession is on Good Friday, which is the procession of the Reclining Christ organized by the Brotherhood of Reclining Jesus.
These first three Holy Week Processions in Casco Viejo are at 7 p.m. and follow the same path:
- Our Lady of Mercy Church
- San Jose Church
- Ruins of the Society of Jesus
- Ruins of the Convent of Santo Domingo
- Saint Francis of Assisi Church
- San Felipe Neri Church
- Metropolitan Cathedral of Panama
The last of the Holy Week Processions is on Resurrection Sunday, which is the meeting of the Risen Christ and the Virgin of Glory at 9 a.m. This procession leaves from the Church of Our Lady of Mercy and the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, both arriving at the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua.