Times of history and times of change in both the UK and Chile. As the UK remembers Her Majesty The Queen and the country comes together for the State Funeral on the 19 September, this is also a very important, if different, time in Chile. The '18 de Septiembre' - dieciocho – is a national holiday marking Independence Day and is a time when people come together.
Chile Independence Day. If you’re lucky enough to be there on and around the 18th of September, you’ll get to join in the celebration. The 18th marks Chile Independence Day and is known locally as the 'Dieciocho'.
September 18th is a crucial date on the Chilean calendar. It’s our national holiday and is right up there with Christmas in terms of its importance to the Chilean people. But why? In a nutshell, it’s because Chile declared its independence from Spanish rule on September 18th, 1810.
While independence was declared on that date, it wasn’t until February 12, 1818, that full independence was achieved.
Nonetheless, it’s the September date that is recognised and celebrated as Chile Independence Day. The day is the high point of what is known as the 'Fiestas Patrias'.
In short: It’s party time! Many Chileans spend the entire week leading up to the day celebrating. What’s more, the festivities run until the day after the official Chile Independence Day. September 19th is another public holiday known as the Day of the Glories of the Chilean Army.
All in all, you’re looking at up to seven days of solid celebrating and partying. We love to mark the occasion with food and drink, music and dancing and parades and 'rodeos' featuring huasos, Chilean cowboys. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, you need to get over there and find a suitably busy ramada. 'Ramadas', for the uninitiated, are open-air party spaces under thatched or straw roofs. Music, food and a good time are virtually guaranteed. The 'Dieciocho' is a party that you won’t forget anytime soon.
No feast is complete without an ample selection of tasty things to eat and drink. Chilean Independence was a monumental event, and the food and beverage on offer reflect that.
Traditional Chilean food is cooked on open bit barbeques known as 'asados'. All that smoky goodness fills the air before barbequed meat and vegetables are served up. Baked 'empanadas' are also particularly popular. When it comes to drinking, there is no shortage of Chilean wine to be had. Many people will get together to cook or share food, though it is possible to buy traditional food and drink from concession stands known as 'fondas'.
During September we also fly a kite. In Chile, September heralds the spring, and with it, the wind picks up — perfect kite flying weather! Hundreds of colorful kites dot the sky during 'Fiestas Patrias'.