Sunday 3 April 2016

Top Cultural Celebrations and Festivals in Chile By Jessica Martinez, Demand Media

Chile takes a great deal of pride in its long history, impressive geography, unique culture, and its religious and indigenous roots. A warm, open and fun-loving people, Chileans are always ready to celebrate. Any number of festivals and cultural celebrations take place in Chile year-round, and some of the most well-known and exciting of those draw visitors not only from around the country but from around the world.

Vina del Mar Music Festival

Each year during the last week of February, Vina del Mar, an upscale resort town about two hours from Santiago, holds the Vina del Mar Music Festival. This immensely popular, nationally broadcast music festival is one of the world's largest of its kind. Though built around pop- and folk-singing competitions, the festival's real draw is the performances by famous international musicians.

Carnaval Andino Con la Fuerza del Sol

The Carnaval Andino Con la Fuerza del Sol, or "the Andean Festival with the Strength of the Sun," is one of the most influential and entertaining of a string of festivals that take place in February in Chile's northern region. Hosted in the city of Arica, Con la Fuerza del Sol is a three-day festival that celebrates the peaceful blending of Spanish and indigenous cultures in the Andes, as well as Catholic and indigenous traditions. Chilean, Peruvian and Bolivian participants come together to celebrate with lavish costumes, dance groups and brass bands, which compete for the favor of the audience.

Fiestas Patrias

Fiestas Patrias, or "Patriotic Festivities," refer to celebrations related to the Chilean Independence Day, which falls on September 18. Across the country, communities celebrate with parades, air shows, festivals, patriotic decorations and indigenous foods. Individual families celebrate by hosting traditional "asados," or barbecues, where they eat, drink and dance, often late into the night. Independence Day festivities are celebrated over a long weekend and typically last for several days to a week.

Festival de la Tirana

Each July nearly 200,000 people descend upon the tiny town of La Tirana to celebrate its namesake festival. Beginning on July 12 and ending on July 18, the La Tirana Festival is one of Chile's most important and well-known cultural festivals. This religious celebration is based in Chile's Catholic roots and honors the Virgin of Carmen, the patron saint of Chile. Day and night throughout the festival, worshippers, congregations, musicians and dancers dressed in traditional clothing perform in Carmen's honor.

Santiago a Mil

Santiago a Mil, or "Santiago by the Thousands," is Chile's largest festival. This three-week-long artistic and cultural festival takes place in January in the country's capital, Santiago, and features open-air as well as indoor theater performances and international street shows that feature street performers, acrobats and dancers.

We Tripantu

We Tripantu, or the Mapuche New Year, begins just before sunset.on June 23 and ends at sunrise on June 24, as the indigenous Mapuche people wait for the the "new sun" to return from the west. The new year coincides with the winter solstice, as the Mapuche believe that winter brings the renewal of life. Rituals performed invoke Mapuche ancestors and are directed by a religious or community chief.
*Culled from

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