Holidays & Celebrations
Cities, towns, and rural areas throughout the country celebrate Chile’s cultural heritage with a number of entertaining and unforgettable festivals, especially during the summer months. Many are associated with the seasons of nature and productive cycles while others combine ancient indigenous customs with Christian traditions brought from Spain. Chile’s biggest fiesta, however, is its September 18 Independence Day holiday in early spring. The celebration goes on for days and pays particular homage to the country’s agricultural roots with huasos (Chilean cowboy), rodeos, the cueca (the national dance), barbecues, and special foods.
Some of the most interesting celebrations are religious in nature and include colorful processions, costumes, and special dances, such as La Tirana on July 16, or Cuasimodo, when hundreds of people on horseback, bicycle, or carriage accompany the priest as he takes communion to the sick on the Sunday after Easter.
Many towns have their own special days for celebrating with parades, rodeos, and special foods as well, and as autumn draws near, many harvest fests celebrate the new vintage of Chile’s favorite beverage: wine.