The ritual and festive expressions of the Congo culture encompass the contemporary vision of a collective celebration of the descendants of black rebels enslaved in the colonial period, who back then escaped into the jungle and formed communities of exiles called cimarroneras
During the Congo season, participants use a palisade to stage a matriarchal society ruled by a queen and her court. Everyone must help protect the queen and members of the palisade from the devils (diablos), and the season concludes with a confrontation between the diablos and the Congos. 
With the recent inscription of the Congo culture in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Heritage, these cultural traits have been internationally recognized and protected, including its colorful dresses and local people, powerful rhythms and music of the drums as a means to express their deepest felt emotions, singing about their daily life and performing barefoot dances to create communication with the earth. 
The Congo and Diablos Festival is held two weeks after Carnaval in the small historical town of Portobelo, on the Caribbean side of Panama, marking the start of Lent. Everyone takes part in the festival, which has contributed to social integration over generations. 
Portobelo cordially invites you to experience the Congo culture and its rich cultural, historical, and natural heritage throughout the entire year, not only during the festival season. Explore the Portobelo National Park, its mangrove rivers, Caribbean beaches, historical Spanish fortifications, and local artisans. Visit and participate in the local Escuelita del Ritmo, a free school of music and artistic expressions created in 2009 to encourage and promote the Congo culture and art through musical education, enabling education to all, regardless of gender, religion, or socioeconomic background. Since its foundation in 2009, it has educated more than 2,000 students! 
Congo portobelo
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