Dieciochera Fiestas!

Something I didn’t take into account when planning my trip to Chile, was that September 18th is the Chilean National Holiday. It was just a happy accident that I arrived here just in time to join in the celebration. Another thing I didn’t realize, is that Chileans basically celebrate September 18th for the entire month of September (Kind of like how we start lighting off fireworks for, “Fourth of July”, in the middle of June). This is great for me, because I get to start off my visit here by learning about lots of Chilean traditions and eating LOTS of traditional Chilean food (I’m a big fan of Empanadas).

Traditionally dressed Chileans
Traditionally dressed Chileans
I met a huaso!
I met a huaso!

This weekend my host family brought me to a school assembly (remember those?) to see some younger nieces and nephews perform. While the assemblies at my school required us to dress up as ears of corn and dance around pilgrims (If you were a really promising actor you might get a line like,  “I am corn”, hypothetically of course), these kids did some amazing traditional dances, from various parts of Chile.

One group of kids performed a traditional Easter Island dance…

and then there was “The Cueca”.

In the Cueca, the couples sort of hop around each other, waving white handkerchiefs.  The dance is actually supposed to imitate the mating dance of the rooster and the hen. Just try to picture that for a minute.

IMG_0293

Here were the adults dancing the Cueca. This photo doesn’t really capture it, but unfortunately, wordpress.com is being stingy about letting me embed videos. Why would I pay $60 /year for that, when Facebook let’s me do it for free? The Cueca

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