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El Topon de La Pintada, a 100% Campesino Christmas Celebration with More than 250 Years of History


La Pintada is a very rich and culturally varied District. This region of Cocle Province carries out one of the most indigenous social and religious traditions in the country. A Christmas event that has been taking place for more than 250 years and is called El Topon.

Video: Alfonso Martínez Soto

A Purely Campesino Christmas Celebration

It is the only purely rural religious festival in the entire country that is celebrated on December 25 in the middle of Christmas. This tradition inherited from the colonial period tells the story of the pilgrimage of two religious images: The Virgin Mary called La Pascualita, and the Child Jesus. Both characters travel through the countryside along different routes until they meet in the town square on the night of the 25th in the presence of hundreds of Visitors who gather to witness such an exciting encounter.

For those who attend this traditional Christmas event, El Topon is the permanent search for an encounter between God and man, since the life of living beings is to interrelate in the good and bad of everyday life, as well as the spiritual treatment of the good.

In the town of La Pintada, this event is one of the most important on the calendar. The wait for the arrival at the Plaza de La Cruz of the two images, a little virgin representing the Virgin Mary on little wooden chairs decorated with field flowers, and another, that of the Child Jesus, both wearing a typical hat of the region. A meeting that has kept children and adults excited for generations.

Two Processions and a Meeting in the Plaza

In this tradition, a group of parishioners, tours Llano Grande de La Pintada with the image of the Virgin and another group does the same but in the Piedras Gordas area with the Child Jesus. Afterwards, they both star the traditional Topon in the town square of La Pintada, which is where both images meet as their ancestors did.

A Pilgrimage That Begins Months In Advance

The town’s plaza is decorated with lights and flowers to prepare for the arrival of Pascualita and the Child Jesus on the shoulders of the mayordomos in charge of making the pilgrimage through the peasant communities months before, offering blessings or receiving promises of Faith and gratitude for the favors received. All accompanied by violin music and Christmas songs to celebrate the mass, officiated by the bishop of Cocle and the invited priests of the province.

Once the Eucharist is over, a massive journey is made to the Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria parish to accompany the images that are left in the temple until next year.

Photo: Alfonso Martínez Soto
Photo: Alfonso Martínez Soto
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