This tri-continental country hosts a multitude of events and festivities: Chile’s popular festivals are many and varied. Both along its 6,435 kilometres of coastline, and in the rest of its territory, Chile celebrates its homeland in style.
Chileans and tourists from all over the world come to Chile to celebrate their Fiestas Patrias (National Holidays). These festivities are none other than the celebration of its independence and bring together religious, secular and popular celebrations. From Catholic festivities to foundation celebrations to food festivals, the country is a non-stop event.
January - New Year
Chile welcomes the New Year with a multitude of firework shows throughout the country. Among all these cities, Valparaiso’s firework tradition for the night of the 31st of December stands out, attracting thousands of people.
Locals and tourists enthusiastically celebrate the explosion of fireworks with a good glass of champagne. Everyone has their own rituals, but they are all together in a moment of excitement and joy.
February - Tapati Festival of Rapa Nui
The Tapati Festival of Rapa Nui, one of the most unique festivities in Chile, is celebrated in February in addition to the carnival. On the distant Easter Island, locals paint their bodies and dance to music. This is a traditional festival, where traditional legends are told, and where artistic and sports competitions take place.
The Valdivian week or Valdivia festivities in the south of Chile also take place in February. It celebrates of the founding of the city and includes fireworks, beer and a gastronomic feast.
But without a doubt, the month of February is intimately related to Carnival, in this case Carnavalón (Big Carnival). In Socoroma, Putre and San Miguel de Azapa there is a tradition of unearthing Ño Carnavalón. It is a symbol of fertility, fortune and joy, a character who is the starting point for the most traditional Chilean carnival.
March - Harvest festivities
During the month of March, Chileans celebrate the harvest festivities, which actually begin in the summer. During this feast, there are grape-treaders, the electing of the festival queen and a religious ceremony.
In Curicó, the oldest city to celebrate the wine festival, the ceremony that blesses the first must takes place. This is the starting gun to kick off the grape harvest festivities across the country.
April - Fiesta de la Cultura
All over Chile the Fiesta de la Cultura is celebrated during the month of April. A programme where film-makers, painters, poets, dancers and musicians are the protagonists. This great festival of culture takes place in a multitude of cities to bring art to Chileans.
The National Council for Culture and the Arts sponsors all cultural events that take place in Chile during this cultural festival.
May - Naval Glories Day
On the 21st of May, Chileans celebrate Naval Glories Day, which commemorates the naval battle of Iquique. With parades and floral offerings that adorn public buildings. Adults and children alike celebrate this tradition.
More events are held to celebrate this day in Valparaíso, Iquique, Santiago and Talcahuano.
June - New Year for the Indigenous cultures
Between the 21st and the 24th of June the Aymara, Diaguita, Kolla, Mapuche, Quechua and Rapa Nui peoples celebrate the New Year. Indigenous cultures follow their own calendar related to harvests. They hold ancestral ceremonies and commemorate the arrival of a new annual cycle.
The festivities of San Pedro are another of the Chilean festivities that are celebrated in June. The patron saint of the sea is honoured for abundant fishing and a good sea for the shell-fishers, divers and fishermen of the country.
July - Festival of La Tirana
The festival of La Tirana, which begins on the 11th of July and ends on the 19th of July, is celebrated in Tarapacá. Every year this festival attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. In this celebration, religion is mixed with indigenous tradition, dance, drums and dances to the Christian Virgin.
Also in July, the Winter Carnival takes place in Puerto Williams, better known as the Snow Festival. In Patagonia, the Winter Carnival takes to the streets to celebrate its special feast in the same month.
August - Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Within the popular celebrations of Chile, in August you can attend the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This religious feast is also celebrated in Spain every 15th of August.
September - Fiestas Patrias
But it is in September that Chile celebrates its Fiestas Patrias, specifically on the 18th and the 19th of September. This popular festival has been celebrated since 1811 and commemorates Independence Day.
October - St. Francis of Assis
On the 4th of October, the feast of St. Francis of Assis is celebrated in different regions of Chile. It is a mixture of pagan and religious cults that combines different popular traditions of the country.
November - All Saints' Day
The 1st of November is All Saints' Day, just as in Spain. It is a holiday where believers practice their rituals, and non-believers enjoy a holiday.
December - Feast of the Virgin of Andacollo
In addition to Christmas, Chile celebrates the Feast of the Virgin of Andacollo in December. This «copper queen» has its festivities between the 24th and 26th of December. Its origin is Quechua and during the celebration there are dances in her honour and religious ceremonies.
You can now choose the dates for your trip to Chile and make them coincide with a popular festival. This beautiful country will surprise you, not only with its landscape, but also with its culture and traditions.