“Fiestas Patrias” means “national holidays” or literally “homeland parties.” In Chile the independence day is on September 18. Unlike in the US, they have an entire week of celebrations. The celebration for the eighteenth is called the “Dieciochera” which means something like “eighteen-er”.

We live close to a well-known park in Santiago, Parque Ines de Suarez. It is a nice gated park with a large playground, concrete soccer and basketball courts, one large field, two fountains and a nice walking/running path around it. Every year the park closes at the beginning of September while they’re setting up tents and a petting zoo, constructing stages, inflatable bounce houses, a mini Ferris wheel, and other mechanical rides. Yesterday we went early (before it got super crowded) and I got some pictures.

You probably don’t realize how much work they did on these basketball courts. Here they are (the basketball courts) doubling as a food court.

This is a stage they set up in the middle of one of the big fields. Everything is red, white or blue! Well, almost everything, the chairs are black 🙁

Behind the stage along one side of the park is a large artesian fair. Lots of little booths with people selling their own special thing: Flowers, jewelry, origami, wooden kitchen utensils ect.

These are very realistic paper flowers.

This is a glass spiral with rocks inside of it, made into the glass. Also, if you’d like to buy it, it’s only 70 dollars!

There was also LOTS of food and drink booths, of which I didn’t take any pictures. Also, we can’t forget the inflatables and mechanical rides. This is the mini Ferris wheel that Doodle and Rosebud didn’t ride because of the huge line.

Throughout the days there are concerts, circus shows, story tellers and dance competitions of the national dance, cueca. This is what google.cl looked like on the 18th:

Sometime later this week we’ll probably go and watch the dances. I tried the dance the other day (one of my friends tried to teach me), but it’s the kind of dance that goes with a certain song, and you have to memorize what happens when.

There is a law here that all buildings/businesses must have a flag in front of them during Dieciochera (Sept 17-23): apartment buildings, grocery stores and even churches.

How many flags can you spot?