If you find yourself in the municipality of Santiago, be sure to take part or at least witness the dance competition that draws in people from all over the country and world for a relatively new tradition inspired by the old ways. The actual competition may be less than a decade old, but what it represents is as old as the people themselves.
What is all comes down to is ‘cueca’ – a type of music and dance, unique to Chile, that symbolizes the intricate and seductive mating practices of a chicken and rooster. Now you’ve got my attention!
This party goes on for a full month – yes one month, the Chileans know how to have a good time and celebrate their freedom – but the dancing typically takes place at the beginning of the month. Here you will see some of the best dancers from all over the country complete their cueca for all to view, being caught up in the intimate poultry courtship that speaks volumes of the importance of music, dance and the flightless birds to Chilean culture and history.
The competition is free to join and has categories for all age groups from the young to the old, once again stressing the importance of their culture and passing on traditional knowledge and ways from one generation to the next. Oh and there is a bit of prize money for each age category just to keep things interesting.
Sadly, foreigners cannot compete in the competition (boo!) but when you consider it’s to commemorate their independence and is about preserving their heritage, it makes sense and you won’t be as upset. Well, one of the reasons you will be okay with it is it won’t be hard to learn how to do the dance yourself by people in attendance so you too can be a hen or a rooster. Living the dream!
While it is true that the ‘official’ celebrations only last for five days, most people will find the whole month of September to be one giant fiesta, so regardless of your schedule or date of arrival – so long as you do so in September! – there will be something to enjoy and do in Santiago relating for the Chilean independence day. There’s just something in the air that needs to be experienced, as if the whole country is in a good mood and wants nothing more than to relax and have a good time.
If you are looking for something to do this September, why not head to Chile and see what all the fuss is about. You’ll get to experience a culture celebrating its independence and maybe even learn the seductive interplay of rooster and hen – not a bad way to spend September at all if you ask me.