From the Incan heritage of the north, through the midland valleys, and down to the Patagonian south, the customs of the Chileans showcase a surprising variety and richness.
If you’re traveling in the Tarapacá region, make sure to spend July 16th at La Tirana, where very special festivities pay homage to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On September 18th and 19th, Chileans experience an “attack of patriotism” as they celebrate their independence and commemorate their military and its victories.
Chile’s diversity is also present its cooking traditions. Generally speaking, you’ll find seafood on the coast and meats in the inland regions. Incan influences reign supreme in the north, while central areas feature flavors from Spain (Chileans are also into tapas) and Germany (try Kuchen [cake] for dessert). In the south, Mapuche influence can be seen in the area’s barbecue traditions, which are celebrated during the wine harvest, when production begins on fantastic Chilean soups and friends drink Pisco and discuss whether or not the drink is originally from Chile or Peru.
Chileans love horses, which is made evident by their Rodeos, exciting shows in which the riders' skills are seriously put the test. To get an idea of the popularity of these rodeos, suffice it to say that these performances attract more spectators than soccer games do, which are also beloved events throughout this country.
One can’t help but be interested in a country that includes a piece of Polynesia (Easter Island) among its treasures. And speaking of treasures, remember to pick up a souvenir made of lapis lazuli, Chile’s semi-precious national stone: it's blue like the sea that bathes the country, the skies that cover it, and the frame that contains the lone star on Chile’s flag.