Chilean Fiestas Patrias
… by Jane Rosenstein
It was a great honor to go to Celebración de las Fiestas Patrias, the celebration of the national day of Chile at the Embassy of Chile in Paris on September 18, 2014.
Wikipedia describes the Festival as follows,
“The Fiestas Patrias of Chile consists of two days:
- September 18, in commemoration of the proclamation of the First Governing Body of 1810, and marking the beginning of the Chilean independence process.
- September 19, known as the “Day of the Glories of the Army“.
Within Chile, the Fiestas Patrias are often referred to as the Dieciocho, or “18th” because the celebration occurs on September 18. Unofficially, the celebration can last for around a week, depending on when it falls (for example, if the 18th is a Wednesday, celebrations extend from Saturday the 14th, through Sunday the 22nd). Most schools and jobs declare a week-long vacation for the holiday.”
First I presented the printed invitation sent to me by Patricio HALES DIB the ambassador of Chile in Paris and his wife María de los Ángeles SWINBURN NOVOA.
When I arrived at the embassy, I waited to mount the circular stairs. I felt like I was visiting a palace. There was a reception line where I was greeted, and I thanked the ambassador for inviting me.
Then I went to the bar to get a drink, where there was a selection of beverages — red and white wine from Chile, pisco sours and soft drinks. I opted for a delicious pisco sour, having first tried this beverage during my visit to Peru. I noticed that there were finger sandwiches on small rounds of bread and thought that was the food for the event, but I didn’t see many people eating the sandwiches.
Next, I went back to hear the ambassador speak. I met a cardinal from the vatican who was there. The ambassador welcomed the guests, and then all of us sang two national anthems — La Marseillaise, the National Hymn of France, and the National Hymn of the Republic of Chile. The ambassador’s wife told me she spoke English and would be glad to have her photo taken with me.
Then back to the bar for another pisco sour. I met Serge Roue, a film producer for corporate events and took a photo with him, Luis and Boris Alvarado. Boris Alvarado is a philosopher who writes about Boris -Gilles Deleuze, a philosopher who lived from 1925-1995, and who wrote about the order in chaos and was a classical music composer.
Delicious typical Chilean food — meat empanadas, cheese empanadas, small Chilean sandwiches with pork and avocado and corn cakes and desserts were served by waiters and waitresses.
The bar served delicious red and white Chilean wine and also soft drinks. When I asked how I could meet the sellers of these wines, the bartender told me that there was a whole room nearby with large tables of importers offering tastings of their wines. All the wines were delicious.
The event was special for me because of the friendliness of the people. Those I met, both from France and Chile, were very cordial to me. They took the time to know what Veterans Today is and told me about themselves. I was not too surprised as I visited Chile, and especially enjoyed my visit to my friend’s mother’s city, Vina del Mer. While in Chile, I visited Casa Naruda, the house of this famous poet. People spoke to me in Spanish or French, and all made me feel very welcome. It was a great event!