Many Latin American countries celebrate their independence during the month of September, and Chile is no exception. Chileans celebrate on September 18th. Traditionally, however, Chileans celebrate all month long, making this national holiday the perfect excuse to drink plenty of wine and eat lots of empanadas.
This time of year, there's good reason to extend the commemoration throughout the month. Not
only is September the month that Chile declared its independence from Spain, but it's also the month that welcomes spring. Everyone is ready to leave the grey, cold, winter behind and start enjoying Chile's wonderful Mediterranean weather and the seasonal fruits and vegetables that are the key ingredients to Chile's favorite traditional dishes. Thus, as we Californians say good bye to fresh tomatoes and peaches, in Chile la fête
is just beginning.
Las Fiestas Patrias
(Independence Day festivities) are celebrated dancing La Cueca
(Chile's folk dance), drinking lots of wine, and eating empanadas at traditional ramadas. Ramadas
are a makeshift shelter constructed with branches specifically for the festivities. To get a better idea of what a ramada
looks like, see my dear friend and talented photographer Pedro (Pelluco) Troncoso's photo, a little further down in the newsletter.
The Lautaro Chilean Cultural Center was founded in 1957. It is probably one of the oldest running cultural organizations in the United States. The Center was named after Lautaro, a Mapuche (the indigenous people of Southern Chile and Argentina) warrior that nearly defeated the Spanish colonizers by becoming adept at their war tactics. Lautaro's story is one of mythical proportions and it's told in one of my favorite novels by Isabel Allende, "Ines of my Soul".
I hope you can join us and celebrate a la chilena
here in San Francisco, on Sunday, September 15th, at Twin Pines Park, in Belmont. ¡Viva Chile!
Paula TejedaChile Lindo