Separation Day

Panama National Holiday in Panama

Panama City Skyline, Panama

When is Separation Day?

How long until Separation Day?
This holiday next takes place in 165 Days.
Local Name
Separación de Panamá de Colombia
Dates of Separation Day
Year Weekday Date
2020 Tuesday November 3rd
2019 Sunday November 3rd
2018 Saturday November 3rd
2017 Friday November 3rd
2016 Thursday November 3rd
Declaration of independence from Colombia in 1903

This holiday is always celebrated on 3 November.

Known as Separation Day, this holiday celebrates the independence of Panama from Colombia in 1903. It is Panama's National Day.

Panama has an Independence Day public holiday on 28 November, but that holiday marks independence from Spain in 1821.

History of Separation Day

Though home to indigenous tribes, Panama came under Spanish control with the arrival of settlers in the 16th century. From 1538 until 1821 Panama was governed as part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

On 28 November 1821, Panama become independent from Spain as the region was a department within the Republic of Greater Colombia.

Despite this first step towards independence, Panamanians had a enduring desire to become their own nation, coming close to independence from Colombia in 1831, when Ecuador and Venezuela left Gran Colombia.

In 1903, Colombia and Panama disagreed on whether the U.S. should be allowed to build a canal across Panama. With the support of the U.S., Panama broke away from Colombia on 3 November 1903.

The canal was completed in 1914, and the area around the canal remained U.S. territory until 1979 and final U.S. involvement only ceased on 31 December 1999.

How is Separation Day Celebrated?

Celebrations across the country will include firework displays and parades, especially in the capital, Panama City.

The day after Separation Day is also a public holiday called Flag Day. The series of public holidays is rounded off with Colon Day on 5 November, which celebrates the events of 1903, when the citizens of Colon averted a march on Panama City by the Colombian army.

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