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Chile's National Independence Day

On Sept. 18, 1810, Chile declared independence from Spain. After an eight-year war, the Diechiocho, is now Chile's National Independence Day every year. This holiday, also called "Fiestas Patrias de Chile," is celebrated throughout the country with many festivities. Chile celebrates its independence with parades, parties, food, drink and music. Dance floors are laid out in large marquees, also called Ramadas, and a wide variety of Chilean traditional food is served in the so-called Fondas. Sept. 19 is also an important day for Chileans. Known as the "Day of the Glories of the Army," this day is celebrated at O'Higgens Park in Santiago de Chile. On this day is Chile's big military parade that attracts as many as millions of viewers.

  • On Sept. 18 and 19, Chileans celebrate their independence with parades, parties, food, drink, music and a large military parade at O'Higgens Park in Santiago de Chile.
  • Ramadas (large party tents) are set up with dance floors and Fondas (decorated tents) where Chilean cuisine is served.
  • Chilean cuisine is very important during these holidays. The Chilean Empanada is the traditional dish: a kind of bread with a filling of pino, a mixture of minced meat, onions, boiled eggs raisins and olives.

The celebration of the Fiestas Patrias is an expression of Chilean culture. Festivities organized during these days include the Chilean rodeo, various street parties, the performance of the traditional dance the Cucea, visiting Fondas and Ramadas and barbecues. There is also a Catholic ceremony in the Plaza de Armas, led by the Archbishop of Santiago de Chile.

During the Fiestas Patrias, Chilean cuisine is very important. The favorite traditional Chilean drink during this festivity is the Chicha, a light alcoholic drink made from grapes, kind of like wine. In southern Chile, the preference is more for the apple Chicha. Chile's other national drink, Pisco is also very popular during these celebrations. This drink is also made from grapes but has a higher percentage of alcohol and tends more toward a brandy-like drink. Consuming traditional Chilean food is one of the most important activities during the Fiestas Patrias. Chileans prepare the food at home or in the so-called fondas, tents specially set up and decorated for this annual event. The predominant food is Chilean empanadas, which are baked from a type of bread. The filling consists of pino, a mixture of minced meat, onions, boiled eggs, raisins and olives. The barbecue is also very popular and as much as 50 million Dollars worth of meat is sold, during the Fiestas Patrias. The typical Chilean dessert not to be skipped is the Alfajor, the traditional cookie with a filling of caramelized milk.

No matter where you are in Chile during the independence celebrations, everywhere you will hear ¡Viva Chile! Going on vacation to Chile in September is highly recommended! Enjoy the spring-like weather, festivals, Chilean cuisine and of course the country itself.

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