Fiestas Patrias in northern Chile: Activities from Arica to Freirina

Fiestas Patrias takes on a mystical quality in Chile’s great northern desert, where ancient indigenous traditions have blended with Catholic rituals and European cultural influences.

For a distinct experience, check out these key Fiestas Patrias activities in several of Chile’s northern communities, from Arica to Freirina:

Arica y Parinacota Region – Arica

Arica’s Fiestas Patrias revelry continues with various community activities from September 7 until September 29 in a Month of Patriotism.

Kick off the celebrations in Arica with a gastronomic fair in Plaza Colón on September 12 at 11 am. Later in the day, at 6 pm, an “esquinazo” – a folkloric dance – will be held at the Chinchorro Oriente civic center amphitheater.

The Fiestas Patrias official ramadas (outdoor structures constructed for the celebration) will be inaugurated on September 14 at 6:00 pm, and days of food, dancing and numerous other community activities will follow.

A religious ceremony known as Te Deum will be held at Catedral San Marcos on September 17 at 10:00, and a military parade will begin the following day, September 18, at 11:30 am at Pérgola de las Bandera.

Arica’s Fiestas Patrias celebrations will culminate on September 28 with a Night of Cueca, beginning at 8:00 pm in Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna park.

Tarapacá Region – Iquique

Iquique’s famed Grand Ramada will be inaugurated at 8:00 pm on September 14 near the intersection of the streets Tadeo Haenke and Avenida Héroes de la Concepción. This ramada will continue until September 19.

The Te Deum religious ceremony will be held at 10:30 am on September 18 at Iglesia Catedral Iquique, and on the following day – September 19 – a military parade will begin at 11:00 am at Plaza O’Higgins.

A Grand Fonda of Chicha can be found on September 16 and 17 at Club Unión Morro.

The holiday month in Iquique will climax with a Grand Municipal Gala of cueca dancing and other activities on September 29 at 8:00 pm at Plaza 21 de Mayo.

Antofagasta Region – Antofagasta

From September 15 until September 18, seaside Antofagasta’s ramadas will be held in the city’s regional stadium, including folkloric shows and exhibitions, along with traditional food and drinks.

A national cueca demonstration will honor Chile’s national dance on September 13 and September 15, culminating in a spectacle known as “Mil Pañuelos al Viento,” or “a thousand handkerchiefs to the wind.”

The community of Antofagasta will also host a folkloric festival, “Festival Costumbrista de Fiestas Patrias,” on September 16 through September 18 at Parque Croacia. This event will include unique activities for the entire family such as kite flying and folkloric dance.

Atacama Region – Tierra Amarilla and Freirina

Tierra Amarilla commences Fiestas Patrias with a parade on September 14 at 11:00 am, followed by a ceremony to inaugurate the official ramada at 8:00 pm at Parque Rafael Torreblanca. A traditional “Fiesta Criolla” continues from September 16 until September 18, displaying Tierra Amarilla’s culture and heritage amidst Fiestas Patrias.

Further south, Freirina – in Atacama’s Huasco province – will hold ramadas at various locations throughout the community from September 15 until September 19. The official Grand Ramada will be inaugurated at 9:00 pm on September 17 at Avenida Las Heras. Music and other cultural activities will be held daily in Freirina’s Plaza de Armas from September 11 until September 19, and a demonstration of cueca will also take place there at 8:00 pm on September 14.

By Gretchen Stahlman, written for Chile.Travel

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