Celedonio Molinar Avila

Celedonio Molinar Ávila (1916-2005) remains the most renowned 20th century Major Devil in the Congo carnival tradition of Portobelo, Panama. Born in Nombre de Dios, he learned how to perform the character from a person that migrated to Nombre de Dios from Portobelo. In 1945, Celedonio married a woman from Portobelo, moved there, and brought the Major Devil character back with him. He also introduced the tradition of “Blessing” or “Baptizing” the Devil to the area. Having served in the role for 60 years, Celeonio influenced and shaped the devil character and Congo tradition in Portobelo more than any other 20th century figure.

Listen to the full interview

Interview Details

Interviewee: Celedonio Molinar
Interviewer: Renee Alexander Craft
Secondary Interviewer: Arturo Lindsay
Date of Interview: June 3, 2000
Location of Interview: Front porch of interviewee’s home in Portobelo, Panama
Interview Transcribed By: Gustavo Esquina
English Translation By: Oronike Odeleye, Arturo Lindsay
Audio Link: https://soundcloud.com/digitalportobelo/celedonio-2001
Download the Transcript: English TranscriptSpanish Transcript