This custom was collected from a friend, who was born and raised in Panama City, Panama and is 20 years old. It is about a party that construction promotors throw for their employees after a project is completed.
It was her uncle who told her about it, since he works in the construction business. When a project is over, promotors throw a party called la monongada, where the promotors provide food and entertainment to thank their employees for all their hard work. It is named after the mondongo, a Panamanian stew served with rice and beans (while in other countries it is commonly eaten as soup). He told my friend that it was the only time the promotors and construction workers really interacted outside work, and that it was always a beautiful experience. My friend was so interested in seeing what that looked like that she asked her uncle to take her to one a couple of years back. There were popular Panamanian singers, delicious food, and hundreds of people. She said it was one of the best parties she had ever been to, and everyone was having a great time.
I think this is a very beautiful tradition. My mom is also in the construction business, and she throws these parties as well. I’ve never been to one, but she’s showed me a lot of pictures and it is clear that everyone really enjoys themselves. I think this speaks to Panamanians’ classism to an extent, but it is still a nice way for these promotors to acknowledge the hard work put in by their employees.