Chilean festivals are as diverse as their landscapes. Festivals that bring myths and legends to life enchant the participants with its magical festive vibes and attracts thousands of tourists to Chile.
Here are some of the popular festivals celebrated in Chile.
1. Tapati Festival
Easter Island has been celebrating the ten-day Tapati Festival at Rapa Nui in February every year since 1975. Traditional body painting, swimming and canoeing competitions to crown a festival queen are some of the fun activities that take place during this festival. This celebration of local culture also involves Haka Pei, where participants slide down the side of a mountain on banana trunks at top speeds. The event ends with the crowning of the festival queen by moonlight at the Tahai complex.
2. Grape Harvest Festival
This is a religious ceremony to bless the first pulped batch of grapes. During the four days of festivities, tourists can enjoy the glimpse of the valley’s finest handicraft exhibits, Creole cuisine, culture and entertainment with the colourful parade, crowning of the harvest queen, and stomping competitions.
3. New Year
According to the quirky Chilean traditions, once the New Year celebrations begin in Santiago, make sure you hug someone of the opposite sex first. South America’s biggest fireworks display and fiesta can be enjoyed in Valparaíso. You can also relax in the sunshine on the sandy beaches of Viña del Mar, and as the clock strikes midnight you will have a great view of the Valparaíso fireworks show.
4. Día de las Glorias Navales
Day of Naval Glories or Navy Day is celebrated on May 21 each year. The day is an official holiday to commemorate the Battle of Iquique, which occurred on May 21, 1879, during the War of the Pacific. Arturo Prat’s heroism is said to be the reason behind the victory of Chile in the War of the Pacific. Residents of the coastal cities commemorate the event by casting flowers into the sea.
5. Festival of the Virgen del Carmen
This festival is celebrated every year from July 12th to July 18th, a full week of festivities to commemorate the Virgin of Carmel, a patron’s day saint. People sing and dance the whole day. The traditional dance is known as “Chino’’. People wear beautifully designed demonic masks that reflect what the devil looked like in Pre-Hispanic Andean culture.
6. Indigenous New Year
In front of the sacred Canelo Tree, adorned with a Mapuche flag tree, will be a line of homemade ceramic bowls filled with various traditional foods. People forming two lines, led in a prayer, giving thanks for all that has happened this past year and asking for prosperity for the next. The splendour of this group moment in stark contrast with the loud rambunctious drumming and dancing, accompanied by a horn. Everyone moves and dances in a joyful celebration.
7. Fiestas Patrias
Day of the Glories of the Army (Chile’s independence from Spain) is celebrated on 18th September. Chileans begin the celebrations one week before the 18th September with parades, festivities, food, music, and beverages. Tourists also enjoy kite flying competitions, dance and cooking competitions and lot more.