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article imageFood, dance, folklore at Chile’s bicentennial celebration Special

By Igor I. Solar     Sep 21, 2010 in World
Santiago - Four days lasted the bicentennial celebrations of the independence which Chileans commemorated with sport events, patriotic parades, traditional dances, typical food and beverages, and tributes to the 33 miners still trapped 700 meters underground.
The patriotic activities, genuine expressions of Chilean culture and traditions, were carried out in cities and the country side, in homes and at temporary facilities called Fondas and Ramadas, which are built each year at specified locations where Chilean families gather to enjoy drinks including wine, beer and chicha (a light alcoholic beverage typically made from grapes) and traditional meals such as open-pit BBQs, anticuchos (kebabs) and empanadas (meat and onion pies).
The festivities include traditional games and competitions, and plenty of singing and dancing. Ramadas are equipped with tables and chairs and a dance floor under a roof traditionally made with tree branches, as in old, improvised shelters. Every year, on September 18, in one of these Ramadas in Santiago, the President of Chile inaugurates the festivities by dancing a cueca, the national dance of Chile (shown in the video interpreted by dancers of the Chilean National Folkloric Ballet - BAFONA). Fondas are smaller refreshment stands, offering a variety of national beverages and food favourites.
Chilean Fonda offering typical Chicha held to fermentation in wooden barrels. One of the high demand...
Chilean Fonda offering typical Chicha held to fermentation in wooden barrels. One of the high demand alcoholic drink combinations is called "Terremoto" (Earthquake).
Many residents of the capital Santiago leave the big city to celebrate the holidays with family and friends in other cities along the country. One of the favourite places to visit during the holidays is Viña del Mar, located about 110 kilometres from the capital. The main place for setting up Ramadas in Viña del Mar is the courts of the thoroughbred horse race track called Valparaiso Sporting Club.
Entrance to the courts of Race Track  Valparaíso Sporting Club  location of the Fondas and Ramadas ...
Entrance to the courts of Race Track "Valparaíso Sporting Club" location of the Fondas and Ramadas in the city of Viña del Mar, Chile.
People attending the festivities at the Valparaíso Sporting Club wander along the racetracks to pla...
People attending the festivities at the Valparaíso Sporting Club wander along the racetracks to play games and to take a breath of fresh air, away from the crowds.
The Municipality of Viña del Mar runs the Official Ramada every year where singers dressed in traditional attire sing festive songs while attendees enthusiastically participate in typical dances (cuecas).
Quartet of Chilean  huasos  (country-men) play folk music (cueca) at the Official Ramada of the Muni...
Quartet of Chilean "huasos" (country-men) play folk music (cueca) at the Official Ramada of the Municipality of Viña del Mar.
This year, because of the special occasion of the celebration of two hundred years of independence, the Fondas and Ramadas opened on Friday and closed late on Monday allowing millions of Chileans to participate in the popular festivities where the Chilean flag and the memory of the 33 miners, spending the holidays about 700 meters underground, were everywhere.
View of the thousands of people visiting the Fondas at the Valparaíso Sporting Club to enjoy typica...
View of the thousands of people visiting the Fondas at the Valparaíso Sporting Club to enjoy typical Chilean food and beverages during the 4-day celebration.
Popular dancers (the  chinchineros ). These dancers coordinate their moves with hands and feet to pl...
Popular dancers (the "chinchineros"). These dancers coordinate their moves with hands and feet to play flag-decorated percussion instruments carried on their backs. They sound almost like a whole orchestra.
On the negative side, the return of travellers spending the holidays away from Santiago involved over 230 000 vehicles causing massive highway traffic jams lasting for several hours, extending in some locations for about 30 kilometres. During the four-day celebrations there were more than 840 traffic accidents that left a balance of 36 deaths and more than 800 injured.
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