Fiestas Patrias: The colorful traditions in Chile on the 18th of September burst out alive to celebrate their independence from the Spanish Conquistadores. Are you ready for some tasty asado while watching the cueca dance? The 18th of September or the “Dieciocho” is, without a doubt, the most popular and most celebrated national holiday of Chile!
Fiestas Patrias – Chilean Independence Day
Fiestas Patrias started as a celebration to celebrate their independence from the Spanish Conquistadores in 1810. It also marks the end end of winter and the “unofficial” beginning of spring and the long summer season! “Dieciocho”, as the fiestas patrias are also called, is characterized by lots of vino, asados (Chilean BBQs) and danceable folklore music known as the cueca. During the cueca, the Chilean men dress up as Huasos – the Chilean Cowboys – and try to seduce the women by imitating the courtship steps of a rooster towards a hen 🙂
Dieciocho & Chilean Rodeo
“Dieciocho” also means the start of the famous Chilean rodeo season, which starts off in September and ends towards the last week of April with a grand finale in the city of Rancagua. Throughout the entire year, Chileans look forward to this celebration so much, it’s a huge part of who they are and their culture.
Cueca, Fondas & Empanadas
Depending on the year, these celebrations can last an entire week long! Chileans feel deeply connected to their culture and use these fiestas patrias to proudly share their love and traditions for Chile. Lots of time is spent preparing traditional food, such as empanadas, humitas, asado accompanied by vino tinto, pisco and chicha that tends to flow generously.
You can join a celebration in the fondas, a sort of open fair with food and music stands and at night it turns into the hot spot for dancing until the morning hours. These fondas are also often in the vicinity of a medialuna (the arena where the rodeo takes place).
The Fiestas Patrias also entail the 19th of September as an official federal holiday: the day of the Armed Forces which is celebrated with many military and naval parades to celebrate Chile’s glorious military victories throughout its entire history in different cities throughout Chile!
If you’re lucky enough to be travelling during these dates, you definitely are going to want to find these places that we mentioned. Also, take note that during the actual dated of September 18-19 a lot of things will be closed so planning is very important. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.