Last September 17, the Falkland Islands governor hosted a Chilean Independence Day reception at Government House for the Chilean community. ”There are 199 Chilean-born people in the Falkland Islands,” said Governor Nigel Phillips at the reception.
The Governor went on to describe Chileans as a vital and irreplaceable part of the Falklands community, and expressed his fondness for this annual reception in particular, since it was the first he had hosted on his arrival in the Islands, three years before.
The celebration of ‘Fiestas Patrias’ centers on September 18, for which date it is sometimes known as the ‘Dieciocho’. This date commemorates the proclamation of the First Governing Body of 1810, marking the beginning of the Chilean Independence process.
Traditional activities in Chile for the celebration include Chilean rodeo, dancing the cueca and going to fondas and barbecues. Fondas are venues, often tents, prepared and decorated for the Fiestas Patrias where traditional Chilean food and drink is served.
On the 18th in Chile there’s also a religious celebration called ‘Te Deum Ecuménico de Fiestas Patrias’. This ceremony, which is organized by the Catholic Church and led by the Archbishop of Santiago, has taken place since 1811.
Best of all of course is the traditional Chilean cuisine. There are the empanadas that Falkland Islanders have come to love so much, and the preferred drink is chicha, an alcoholic beverage typically made from grapes or apples.
Meanwhile alfajores are often made for dessert. These are two breaded cookies joined with manjar, a sweet filling made from caramelized condensed milk. Many Chileans also throw a barbecue for the Fiestas Patrias. In Chile during this time sales of meat products often exceed US$ 50 million. (PN)