Festivals and Events
Festivals are an integral part of Chilean life and are imbued with religious, historical or cultural associations. Whatever the occasion, one thing can be certain and that is that the population of this long country will pull out all the stops to make every festival an event to be remembered.
Santiago a Mil
The largest arts festival in the country, the Santiago a Mil festival encompasses theatre, dance, music and more, showcased by native and foreign performers. The name Santiago a Mil translates as Santiago for 1,000 (pesos) and is a reference to how cheap the festival was in its early years. Nowadays, ticket prices have risen somewhat but affordability is still one of the festival’s main selling points. Taking place in the summer month of January, Santiago a Mil is a festival of self-expression and talent.
Carnaval con la Fuerza del Sol
Thoroughly entertaining and of great religious and cultural importance, the Carnaval con la Fuerza del Sol ("carnival with the strength of the sun") takes place over three days and brings together people from Chile, Peru and Bolivia. The festival celebrates the peaceful blending of Spanish and indigenous cultures and festivities include participants in brightly coloured, traditional clothing dancing and singing, both competitively and purely for enjoyment.
Festival Internacional de la Canción de Viña del Mar
Translating as the International Song Festival of Viña del Mar
, this music extravaganza sees some of the biggest names in the industry congregate in the seaside resort town of Viña del Mar for the biggest and most well-known music festival in Latin America. Past headliners include Tom Jones, Sting, Cat Stevens, Ricky Martin and Carlos Santana, showing how the event embraces both Latin American music and artists from elsewhere in the world. Music is sung in a variety of languages and encompasses a huge array of different genres.
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One thing Chile has gained fame for across the world is its wine so it makes sense that they have a holiday devoted to the celebration of the very thing that creates this delicious beverage. Chile’s annual Grape Harvest Festival
, which takes place in March and April, starts with a religious ceremony where locals bless the first grape harvest and give thanks for it. The second part of the festival is much livelier as grape-pressing competitions take place alongside singing, dancing and cheers of encouragement from onlookers.
La Fiesta de la Tirana
Situated in the region of La Tirana in Northern Chile, this festival sees hundreds of thousands of people flock to a group of villages that have a permanent population of just over 1,000. The reason for this religious festival is to honour Virgin de Carmen, the patron saint of Chile. Pilgrims, dressed in traditional garb, perform dances and make music as they worship her and as day turns to night the festivities carry on strong. This is one of Chile’s biggest and most well-known festivals.
Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day)
Every year on the 18th of September, the entire population of Chile comes out to celebrate its independence from Spain. The celebrations usually last for the entire week and consist of lots of dancing and singing as well as feasting on a huge array of Chilean food and drinks. Chileans are incredibly proud of their cultural heritage (and rightfully so), therefore this festival is of paramount significance and is guaranteed to have you tapping your toes and wishing that it would last forever.