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How much do you know about Chilean "Fiestas Patrias"?

How much do you know about Chilean "Fiestas Patrias"?

Posted by José Peralta on September 18, 2014

The two-day Fiestas Patrias, or Dieciocho, marks Thursday, Sept. 18 as Chilean Independence Day, commemorating the beginning of Chilean independence from Spain, and Friday, Sept. 19 as the "Day of Glories of the Army."

The Chilean War of Independence was fought between the pro-independence Chilean criollos seeking independence from Spain and royalist criollos wanting to maintain a relationship with the Spanish Empire. The fighting began in 1810 and extended over 11 years, and ended with royalist being expelled from the mainland.

In Chile the occasion is a weeklong celebration, in the U.S. there will be private celebrations in communities and neighborhoods, and consulate sponsored events. Celebrations include a religious ceremony of Catholic and diverse beliefs, "Te Deum Ecumenico de Fiestas Patrias," a tradition in practice since 1811. The following day is the "Great Military Parade of Chile" with the Army, Navy and Air Force, and Carabineros de Chile marks the end of the celebrations.

Fiestras Patrias is an expression of Chilean culture and traditions and is celebrated with "Chilean rodeo, dancing the cueca, going to fondas (tents) , and barbecue," according to The Santiago Times.

The food associated with Fiestras Patrias is the Chilean empanadas stuffed with pino -- a mixture of chopped beef and onion and half a boiled egg, raisins and an olive. And plenty of barbecue. The favorite drink is chicha -- a light alcohol made from grapes, and alfajores as a sweetener -- breaded cookies filled with caramelized condensed milk.

Flags are hung from public buildings with the star in upper left corner.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census there are over 126,000 Chileans in the US, an increase of 84 percent from the last Census count in 2000. Large communities are in three main cities , Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

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