Panamanian superstitions: The World’s Superstitions Series pt 11!

Resuming the popular series, today we discuss Panamanian superstitions and see what they have in common with the other World’s Superstitions. Namely, my first Panama trip was back in March 2010 and was pleasantly surprised to notice how similar their customs, traditions, and even natural landscapes are to my homeland’s (Puerto Rico). Hope you learn something new today! 🙂

Panamanian superstitions, el Chupacabra

"El Chupacabra" attacks once more! Keep reading

* “Cuidado con El Sereno“! That evil, invisible fog appears between sunset and dusk. It can cause all types of illnesses, almost like one of the plagues in Moses time. It is not only part of Panamanian superstitions, but also shared with several Latin American countries, including my island! As a kid, I could never go out at night while my hair was still somewhat wet or with a little tank top on, as Mr Sereno could give me pneumonia in a second.

* Oh, El Chupacabra! Just like Puerto Ricans, this feared animal eater is vivid among Panamanian superstitions. If you have a farm, wake up one morning and one (or several) of them are dead, they must have been eaten by the Chupacabra. Guaranteed.

Panamanian superstitions, espasmo

what an "espasmo" apparently looks like (

* Panamanians have a curious sensitivity when it comes to hot and cold changes. For instance, if you burn yourself with a hot iron, you should not wash the area with cold water right away. Also, if you have been performing arduous manual labor for hours, it is advised that you cool off for a bit first before taking a cold shower. Something about sudden temperature changes could get you sick? No one really knows. Regardless, Panamanians are careful about this!

* According to Mr Panamaniac, you must never eat a watermelon if there’s liquor around. Ever. Apparently, the watermelon-liquor mix could be deadly and throw you into an espasmo.

* Speaking of espasmos, this medical “condition” cannot be really explained, but according to Panamanians, it definitely exists and one should be careful not to fall into one. The hot and cold combo explained earlier on this post is apparently a common cause of espasmos, in addition to ironing prior to moisture exposure (a sink? Toilet? Rain? Either).

Panamanian superstitions, la Tulivieja

The Tulivieja! (

* What about fortune? Oh, the Panamanian superstitions list is shock-full of it! So, what are some rules of thumb? Johannica gives us the lowdown: Planning on cutting your hair? Do it during full moon for good luck. Raining outside? Do not open the umbrella inside–it’s bad omen! Baptize your children as soon as possible–or else the Tulivieja will take them away. Broke a mirror? Ahh, seems like that’s a seven-year bad-luck sentence everywhere in the world.

* Speaking of La Tulivieja…who is she?! According to Panamanian superstitions, she is a woman who lost her baby, died, and now wanders from river to river at night crying for her baby son: “Mi hiiiijo, mi hiiijo!” What’s interesting is that a similar legend exists in Mexico, with the same back-story, only that she’s named La Llorona.

And that’s it for Panamanian superstitions today! Every other Monday I’ll post a brand new list of superstitions from a [surprise] country. Would love to learn more about the customs and traditions of a particular place? Suggestions for future posts are always welcome! 😉 Just contact me and I’ll feature it. Hasta luego!

Previously featured countries:
Puerto Rico
The Netherlands

Got more Panamanian superstitions? Share them in a comment below!

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