The Villarrica volcano in Chile on 2 September, 2018
© Cristobal Saavedra Escobar/Reuter
Light up the night. Celebrating Chile’s Independence Day
That’s the Villarrica volcano providing fireworks as we mark Chile’s Independence Day, the celebrations for which take place on 18 and 19 September. One of South America’s most active volcanoes, Villarrica is known to the indigenous Mapuche people as Rucapillán (Devil’s House). This photo was taken on 2 September, 2018, a scene that alarmed nearby residents but wasn’t nearly as destructive as other eruptions - like one in 2015 that prompted the evacuation of thousands of people.Chile’s celebrations, or Fiestas Patrias, take place each year just before the spring equinox in the Southern Hemisphere, doubling up as a kind of spring festival. With most schools and workplaces on a week-long holiday, people celebrate by attending rodeos, going to the beach, visiting family, and indulging in traditional Chilean food and drink. It’s said that Chileans gain weight during the Fiestas Patrias, dining out on empanadas de pino - small pastries filled with minced meat, onions, hard-boiled egg and olives – which are typically eaten with a variety of grilled meats from barbecue stands called asados. It’s all washed down with local red wine or chicha, which in Chile is a sweet, distilled grape or apple-based beverage which is almost exclusively drunk during Fiestas Patrias celebrations.