Saturday, September 17, 2016

El 18 de Chile - Day One

In Chile, Independence Day is a big deal. Although the 18th is the official holiday, most businesses are closed and families celebrate for several days. Our celebrations began on the 17th and continued until the 19th.

Day One
We kicked off our celebrations by attending a feria (or fair) at a local park. There was food aplenty, music, dancing, farm animals, and artesanias (or crafts).

 Oli looking at the lambs.
 Literally, "Farm Education"
Los caballeros, cowboys
 Traditional food on display. Of note, the clay pot in the center is Pastel de Choclo, a savory casserole-type dish made with beef, chicken, and veggie filling and topped with corn puree. 
 If you haven't figured this out yet, Chileans are all about meat.
 This terrific poster translates to "The Fountain of Meat."
 Artesanias, or hand crafts, are very popular in Chile and not too expensive. You can buy a quality sweater for only 5 bucks!
This adorable Chilean family watches the dances up on stage (in the very far distance - so far that I could not get a good photo.)
 Mountains of sweets to enjoy
 More from the fountain of meats

 My sister-in-law, Luz, and my nephew.

 Central to everyone's attending was the arena where there was showcased the dances and "cowboy feats" representative of the different regions of Chile, complete with elaborate costumes and music.
 This dude was literally climbing all over his horses and swinging beneath them at full gallop.
A badly taken photo of La Cueca, the traditional dance of Chile. This dance is so integral to Chile that every child learns this in school and there are even dancing schools specifically devoted to its mastery.

 Mark and Oli dancing.
A happy group of teens dancing La Cueca.
Flashback: My other sister-in-law and my nephew dancing La Cueca at my wedding.
 The night ended with fireworks, which I found out is not typical of Independence Day festivities. Instead, fireworks are mostly associated with New Year's Eve.
The Chilean Caballero

To see what transpired on the other days of celebrating Independence in Chile, go here:

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