How I Celebrated Fiestas Patrias in Chile

How I Celebrated Fiestas Patrias in Chile

I had so much fun celebrating Fiestas Patrias in Chile. Also known as Dieciocho (18) this is Chile’s Independence day, celebrated on September 18, hence the name. This is technically “Independence Day” but it is actually celebrated for about a week. In fact school gets cancelled for at least three days and the other days that classes are technically in session, hardly anyone goes or is expected to go. To top it off the entire country shuts down for three to four days depending on where you are. When I say it ‘shuts down’ I don’t just mean that the malls and barber shops and small businesses close. I’m talking grocery stores. Closed. No one does much during the day except for going to the Fondas and partying.

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Enjoying the Fondas

Fiestas Patrias in Chile
Festive decor at one of the fondas we visited.

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A fonda is basically a giant carnival of food. There are different huts you can go into and order traditional Chilean foods and drinks such as chicha . There were empanadas, choripan, completos and so much more. There’s tonnes of meat and everything tastes amazing. Some fondas even have amusement park rides and mascots and even parrots you can hold if you want to.

Holding a Parrot | Fiestas Patrias in Chile - Exploring the Fondas
Photo credit to my friend, Javiera.

Dancing the Cueca

During Fiestas Patrias, the cities gets really rowdy at night with all the parties. Clubs are packed and everywhere people dance cueca (national Chilean dance). This dance is a partner dance where the male and female make figure eights around each other while twirling handkerchiefs. For some reason it is supposed to symbolize a rooster seducing a hen but the woman leads the dance.

Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso

Ocean Views at Viña del Mar | Fiestas Patrias in Chile

I celebrated Fiestas Patrias in Viña del Mar and Valparaiso (two coastal cities about an hour away from Santiago) with my host sister, Javiera and a group of my crazy gringo friends. Luckily we got beautiful weather for the whole weekend and were able to enjoy the beaches in Viña and Ranaca as well as the sand dunes in Con-Con.

Viña del Mar | Fiestas Patrias in Chile

It was such a good weekend especially since I was really missing the ocean. I think my soul thrives most when I am near a big body of water. Growing up by a big lake has spoiled me way too much but I am especially drawn to the ocean. In my personal opinion there is no better feeling than sand between your toes, sun on your face and the smell of salty air. I honestly believe that the ocean is one of the most magical and mysterious beings in the world.

Are You Celebrating Fiestas Patrias in Chile? Check out these Articles to Help Plan Your Celebrations

Fondas at the Fiestas Patrias in Chile
Photo credit to my friend, Javiera

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How I Celebrated Fiestas Patrias in Chile

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