Celebrating Chile by flying the Chilean Flag

The Chilean Flag in downtown Santiago. Photo by Anthony Navarrete, CUP Fall 2010.

September 18th is Chile’s Fiestas Patrias, or National Holidays. This holiday commemorates the first time that the Chilean government met to manifest their intent to become independent from Spain. It is arguably the most important holiday in Chile, even more important than Christmas. September 19th is the National Military Day, and in general, the whole month of September is celebrated.

There are many traditions, most of them revolving around food, drink, and spending time with friends and family. One interesting fact is that, by law, all Chilean houses and businesses are required to fly the flag on September 18th and 19th. If they don’t, they could be charged a fine. This law dates back to 1967, and for this reason, during most of the month of September, you can see the flag flying all throughout the country.

The Chilean flag is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1817. The red symbolizes the blood shed for independence, the blue is for the skies of Chile and the white represents the snow-capped Andes mountains. The star represents the unity of the Chilean republic and the powers of the Chilean state.

For more information on Chile’s flag, check out this article by This is Chile.