The traditional water brigades who wet down streets and bystanders by tossing water from hollow gourds, folk dances, stew served in a gourd, rice threshing, coconut peeling and grating contests, splitting loads of firewood, lassoing and binding the legs of a cow, and the typical drumming formed part of the fourth day of celebration of the forty-fourth Toro Guapo National Festival of Antón.
Folk delegations from around the country were paraded on the two stages set up in the 15 de Enero plaza. Cumbia dancers from La Chorrera, congo dancers from Colón, and devil dancers from Los Santos were just some of the countless national folk performances that attracted thousands of visitors to the town's main square.
Alison Nicole Salazar, Queen of Antón's 44th Toro Guapo National Festival, thanked all the Antóntownspeople for the opportunity to represent them in this activity that preserves and upholds the value of this region's customs and traditions.
She had invited all Panamanians to participate in the grand parade of ox-drawn carts that wound through the main village streets on Sunday.
COLORFUL AND FESTIVE
The folk performances, showcasing of the local type of national female costume, oxcart parade, and contests for children to prove their skills in playing the bell-like instrument almirezthat is unique to Antónor enraging the bull with lance maneuvers all drew big crowds and much applause for the contestants.
The festival ended with a bang on Monday with the classic gallota that included bullfights, a round of dances performed publicly to the beat of drumming, a festival farewell group of singers and dancers, and a town dance for all the attendees.
The brainchild of the late Antón folklorist Armando del Rosario De León, the brave bull celebration became a regional festival on October 11, 1967. Its name honors the ranching tradition that characterizes the Antón countryside.
Law 10 of January 21, 2004 established it as a national festival and declared October 15 of each year as a civic holiday for Toro Guapo in Antón. It is considered one of the most important and sensational folk festivals in Coclé Province.
The dance of the bull in front of the tuna, or Carnivalesque singing street band, is a tradition that emerged long ago.
It should be noted that the role of the bull is played by a man inside a metal frame who must make very skillful movements of bucking like a bull and charging after the women, who taunt him with the folds of their skirt as a bullfighter would do with his cape.
LEGACY OF ANTON
Denia Garagate, an Antón folklorist, emphasizes that this festival aims to highlight the age-old ways and ensure these are passed down to each generation. The festivities are a form of paying homage to the region's ancestors, who since colonial times have had a fondness for livestock.