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Martyrs' Day

Martyrs’ Day 2025 and 2026

January 9 is a day of national mourning for the 22 Panamanians who lost their lives during the 1964 riots over the US control of the Panama Canal Zone.

20259 JanThuMartyrs' Day
20269 JanFriMartyrs' Day
Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.

In 1903, the US helped Panama succeed in their revolt against Colombia and finally win their independence. However, many Panamanians resented that fact that the US took control over the Canal Zone.

The US paid 10 million dollars to Panama for the land, paid a quarter-million dollars a year rent, and also bought all land holdings of individuals in the zone. And of course, the US built the canal. But still, it was Panamanian territory under the control of a foreign power, and this did not sit well with many.

JFK ordered the flag of Panama to be flown alongside the US flag at all non-military flag poles in the Canal Zone in 1963, but he was assassinated before this order could be implemented.

Later, an incident concerning flying the Panama flag in the Canal Zone led to a conflict in which Panama’s flag was ripped up and Panamanian student-protesters were killed. The riot then spread, and the US Armed Forces and Canal Zone police suppressed it during a three-day conflict.

The riot of 1964 not only became the reason for establishing Martyrs’ Day, but also was a major reason the US signed the treaty that ultimately ceded the canal to Panama’s control.

Previous Years

20249 JanTueMartyrs' Day
20239 JanMonMartyrs' Day
20229 JanSunMartyrs' Day
10 JanMonMartyrs' Day Holiday
20219 JanSatMartyrs' Day
20209 JanThuMartyrs' Day
20199 JanWedMartyrs' Day
20189 JanTueMartyrs' Day
20179 JanMonMartyrs' Day