Christmas is here and Panama goes into a shopping and party frenzy. Panama being faithful to its history as a melting pot of cultures and races also has many traditions which it adopted from the Americans such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, pine garlands and wreaths, eating turkey for Christmas, among others. None of these are native to Panama but people love the pine smell in the air.
Traffic needless to say goes on overdrive from the end of November. There’s quite a bit of money on the street during December. On December 15th the government and private businesses pay the 13th month, bonuses are paid along with Christmas savings accounts payouts. Remember that Panama’s labor benefits include a 13th month of pay split into three payments throughout the year, basically April, August and December. Those companies that pay bonuses generally pay them in December and many banks and cooperatives offer a Christmas savings option in which people start saving a weekly quota of their choice since early January, and banks will generally gift you with one or two week quotas if you have completed the number of payments. These savings are released in early December.
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