Here in the southern hemisphere, September marks the end of the harshest of the winter months, and in Chile, we often say “pasamos agosto,” or “we’ve survived August” when it’s over. So here today on September 1st, we’re all running around saying, “pasamos agosto” to whomever we see.
September brings many things, springlike weather (though not today), the blooming of the aromo trees ( a type of acacia that has yellow flowers) which color Cerro San Cristóbal in tufts of yellow, and which people break off a twig or two of to put in a vase in their homes to remind themselves that winter is almost over.
Aromo photo courtesy of Bearshapedsphere.
The end of August and beginning of September also brings the excitement of the upcoming national holidays, on Sept. 18th and 19th, for Fiestas Patrias. You can first notice the excitement in the supermarket, where red, white and blue balloons appear, and chicha, a fermented cider, shows up. Later the cuecas or the traditional holiday song comes over the loudspeakers in every public place, and the occasional couple starts dancing their white-kerchiefed dance to the music.
Chicha photo courtesy of Bearshapedsphere.
Then the kites go on sale, and kids tug at their parents’ jackets to get them to buy them one, or more, since they’ll probably lose one to a tree or to another child’s kite string.
But mostly, people are thankful that the unofficial start to spring has arrived and are starting to save a little money from their weekly splurges to hold onto for the big celebration, which this year will be bigger than usual because it’s the nation’s bicentennial.
What’s on for the first week of September:
Events happening starting the first week of September include performances, museum openings and craft demonstrations.
- From the Santiago a Mil selection from earlier in 2010, across the city, download the schedule from the Santiago a Mil website here.
- This Sunday, the 5th of September, a host of free activities (as well as access to buildings that often charge a fee will be happening all over the city (including the craft demonstrations in the Plaza de Armas from 10-6 in the National History Museum‘s courtyard) for “Bicentenial Heritage Day” which you can check out (in Spanish) on this website.
Check back to see what’s coming up in the next weeks as we get ready for the big event of the national holidays in Chile!