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Chilean Independence Day: Celebrating w/ Cueca & Chicha

Secondary Categories: Dig Deeper

If you’re Chilean, you’ve had a good reason to celebrate lately. September is the Mes de la Patria in Chile, marking the beginning of the country’s 1810 independence movement. Since the two national holidays (called fiestas patrias) of September 18 and 19 fell this year on a Tuesday and Wednesday, the government decided to make Monday a holiday as well. A five day holiday: An extra reason to celebrate!

Although patriotic parrillas (BBQs) and rodeos are held throughout the month, Chileans mark September 18th (dieciocho) as especially important because this was the day local leaders declared they’d rule themselves.  They’d go on to fight eight more years, officially gaining independence from Spain on February 12, 1818.

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Photo - Hector Melo A.

Santiago hosts the largest celebration, though throughout the country Chileans will head to fondas, local halls or opens areas converted into temporary places to eat, drink, and dance. Ramadas are similar structures but are covered with temporary thatched roofing. Feet will fly to Chile’s official dance the cueca—a parody of the courtship between a chicken and rooster—and cups are likely to be filled with chicha (which in Chile is a drink made from fermented grapes or apples) or pisco, the grape brandy beloved in Chile and Peru alike. But then tomorrow, Thursday September 20, it is back to work.

Keen to see Chile for yourself? Check out our Chile & Easter Island tours here or speak to one of our Destination Experts about crafting the bespoke vacation of your dreams. 

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