29 July 2013

Join the fiesta in Chile

Chile spans over 4000km from North to South, the vast distance hosts a variety of climate regions from the driest desert in the world in the North, to the snow-capped mountains of the South, and an abundance of cultural differences. Chile’s strong national identity ensures festivals and parties are fuelled with patriotic passion, celebrating the country’s ancient and intriguing history.

Santiago a Mil – January

A great way to start the year is at Chile’s largest performing arts festival and culture festival – Santiago a Mil. The name translates to ““Santiago to one Thousand”, aiming to bring the people of Chile together to promote the biggest names in the country’s arts and culture scene. Every day there are a range of performances of dance, theatre and music. The festival is held in the capital city for the first three weeks of January.

Carnaval con la Fuerza del Sol – End of January

Arica – Chile’s northernmost city – holds the annual Carnaval con la Fuerza del Sol at the beginning of the year, to celebrate the city’s historic Chinchorro traditions and ancestry. Watch the vibrant colours of traditional dress flash around the city as over 5000 dancers parade in a carnival during the three days and nights.

Viña del Mar International Song Festival – End of February

The Americas answer to the Eurovision song contest, the Viña del Mar International Song festival is one of the biggest dates in the calendar, taking place around the end of February. It showcases the best of Latin America’s talent, mixed in with other international big name performers, and is broadcast around the world. The atmosphere in the crowd is unparalleled. Cheering and jeering are encouraged, giving the audience the nickname “the monster”, and booing an artist offstage is not uncommon.

Lavendimia – Valle de Colchagua – Early March

Celebrate the Colchagua Valley’s grape harvest by sampling some wine from one of over ten wineries in the region. The Plaza de Armas is the venue, located in the small city of Santa Cruz where you will be surrounding by famous architecture and attractions including the hotel, museum and church, the Carillion clock, and many thousands of other wine fanatics. As well as world-class wines to sample, there is also food, music and crafts to enjoy from the area.

Fiesta Patrias – September

Celebrate the beginning of Chile’s independence at a Fiesta Patrias, where the country celebrates with parties, food, music and drinks. Celebrated on the 18th September, the day is also known by the
Spanish for this date – “Diechiocho”. Families and friends will meet up in homes, or small tents called “fondas” to enjoy traditional food such as Chilean empanadas and barbecues, and drinks such as Chicha, (a slightly alcoholic grape drink), red wine, and the often stated “national liquor”, Pisco sours.

Words by Tom Nicholson

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