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Fiesta de la Tirana, Chile

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What is the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana?

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The Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana or Fiesta de la Tirana is an annual celebration held in the town of La Tirana in Tarapacá, Chile. The festival has religious characteristics and pays homage to the Virgin of Carmen. In addition, it is one of the largest religious festivals in Chile, with thousands of visitors and participants every year.

The celebrations of the Virgin of La Tirana are carried out through several cultural manifestations, one of them is the dance. Hundreds of dance groups come to La Tirana to be part of a great stage of continuous dances. Each group has a few minutes to perform a commemorative repertoire for the Virgen del Carmen.

 

 

The town of La Tirana is a small town, with only a few hundred inhabitants. However, during the Festivities of the Virgin of La Tirana, the town is transformed into the largest religious stage in Chile to receive more than200,000 pilgrims and hundreds of dance groups. The pilgrims come mainly from Chile; however, there is also the presence of Bolivians, Peruvians and other Catholic nationalities of the region.

In 2018, thePope Francis formally recognized the celebration during his visit to Chile. The Feast of the Virgin of La Tirana has been celebrated for centuries and has only had 3 interruptions since its inception: The cholera outbreak in the year 1999, the swine flu epidemic in 2009 and the COVID19 pandemic in 2020.

 

La Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana is a celebration that mixes religiosity and culture through dances and music

La Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana is a celebration that mixes religiosity and culture through dances and music

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When is the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana?

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The celebrations of the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana always takes place in mid-July to pay tribute to the Virgen del Carmen. The festival will be held approximately from July 10 to 16 of that month. The most important date is Friday 19 when the Fiesta Grande takes place and commemorates the day of the Virgin.

 

 

History of the Fiestas de la Virgen de la Tirana

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Although the celebration of the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana revolves around theimage of the Virgen del Carmen, the celebration has its beginnings with the worship of the Pacha Mama. The festivities were previously celebrated by local workers and farmers. Its beginnings as mining festivities arose thanks to the Bolivian miners who worked in Huantajaya and the saltpeter workers in Collahuasi..

During the 19th century the festival counted of great importance, especially for the saltpeter workers and was celebrated exclusively on July 16. However, after the Pacific War at the end of the same century, the holiday had different dates for Bolivia, Peru and Chile..

During the Chilenization of Tacna, Arica and Tarapacá in the early 20th century, the celebration began to be included in the Chilean calendar, which indicated that the date was July 16, commemorating the Virgen del Carmen. In addition, the Peruvian and Bolivian brotherhoods began to be expelled from the festivities in the year 1911.



Inca Princess

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The celebrations are also attributed to an Inca princess. The story goes that the celebration dates back to colonial times, when there was an Inca princess who managed to escape from the Spanish settlers and hid in an oasis in the vicinity of Iquique, a city in Chile..

Legend has it that his repudiation of the Spaniards and Europeans was such that whenever anyone dared to enter his territory, he was cruelly executed, which is why he was given the name “La Tirana“. However, it is said that once a Spaniard arrived (some legends indicate that it was Portuguese) who left the princess completely in love and made her perspective of the world change, to the point of turning her into a Catholic. Her subjects found out about the conversion and considered the act as treason, so they decided to execute the princess and her lover. Just before she died, the princess requested to be buried with her partner, placing a Catholic cross in her enclosure.

Since then, the site of her resting place has become a site of commemoration and devotion, attracting thousands of pilgrims to the site. Some years later it is said that they built a church there, calling it Our Lady of Mount Carmel..

The celebrations of the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana are held in commemoration of both figures, carrying with it a great sense of religiosity and devotion.

 

Where is the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana

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The Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana is held in the village of La Tirana in northern Chile, Latin America.

The town of La Tirana has a population of less than 1,000 inhabitants. However, during the celebrations of the festivities, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims congregate each year.

 

The Chinas and the Diabladas are two of the predominant dances in the Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana

The Chinas and the Diabladas are two of the predominant dances in the Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana

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How is the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana celebrated[/h2>?

The Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana has a large and varied repertoire of activities related to the veneration and homage to the Virgin of Carmen. The celebration usually lasts for a period of 7 days, which are celebrated mainly with a varieddance repertoire. In addition, tribute is paid to the virgin by performing a precession.

The first days of the celebration begin to arrive thedance groups and pilgrims who come to venerate the Virgen del Carmen. Preparations begin for the opening ceremonies and the whole town begins to get excited about the veneration of the Virgin.

 

Dances

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The different dances that can be identified during the festivities are the following:

 

Antawaras

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The dances of this type renderssun worship. The men’s uniform features a beige shade and a poncho with sequins and various colors. The women wear decorative blouses, hats and skirts.

 

Chinese

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It is a type of dance originating from thepost-Hispanic era and they pay tribute to the miners. During the dance the men wear simple brown suits and capacho in the back. In addition, they accompany their dances with music from air instruments and tambourines. It is usually a dance exclusively for men, although women have been integrated in recent years.

 

Chunchos

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It is a dance originating from Bolivia in which the participants perform jumps and circles while dancing. In addition, they have spears and accompany the dances with instruments such as bonbons and whistles. The costumes are simple in color, but are adorned with some feathers.

 

Diablada

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The Diabladas represent one of the oldest dances of the whole festival which began to be celebrated in the locality since the twentieth century. The participants wear masks and costumes decorated with images. The origin of this dance brings some controversy between Chile and Bolivia, although both contemplate different elements and steps.

 

Gypsies

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The characters wear colorful costumes and handkerchiefs. Their dances are accompanied by tambourines and symbolize the gypsies.

 

Indians

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Their dances make reference to Native Americans. Their costumes are composed of feathers and spears that they move to the rhythm of the music.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country I recommend this guide:.

 

Kayahualla

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The dance is of pre-Hispanic origin and bears some similarities to the trot dance. The costume for men consists of unicolor pants with some glitter, breastplates and umbrellas. Women wear skirts, ornate shirts, hats and skirts.

 

Morenos

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They symbolize the slaves of Chile. Usually, they carry chains and sound a matraca.

These performances of dances and cultural manifestations take place from the beginning of the festivities until the eve of the day of the virgin.

 

The Eve

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This is a series of events that take place before the main day of the festivities. It is usually a quiet day as people look forward to the 16th, when they commemorate the Day of the Virgin. The day is spent with bonfire making and some preparations are made for the following day.

 

Fiesta Grande

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It is the most important day of the celebration, since during the day the Day of the Virgin is celebrated and the participants have the opportunity to carry with them the image of the virgin. The procession goes through the streets of La Tirana and fulfills an extensive schedule of 8 hours of procession.

 

Farewell

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After the Fiesta Grande, more presentations and manifestations of dances and dances take place until July 19, the day on which the festivities formally end with a religious ceremony.

 

Tips to go to the Fiestas de la Virgen de la Tirana

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Due to the fact that the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana has a large number of visitors, we recommend you to plan your trip well in advance, make an itinerary of activities and book the accommodation of your choice in advance.

Also, remember to stay hydrated during the celebrations, especially during the procession since the event lasts approximately 8 hours. It is also advisable to apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn.

Finally, we recommend you to pack some comfortable clothes and shoes so you can fully enjoy the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana.

 

Events in the Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana

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Dances

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The festivities formally begin on June 10 or 11, when the groups make their triumphal entry through the village church. Once in position, the different groups begin to perform their great repertoire of dances, all of them dressed intypical costumes, including some with large colorful masks with horns. Each group has a few minutes to salute the virgin and perform their dances.

 

La Víspera

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The celebration takes place on July 15. During this day no dances are held, as it is a day where mainly religious ceremonies are held. During the day a vigilia takes place in which the groups make bonfires until the clock strikes midnight. Once the “hour of dawn” arrives, they proceed with a great fireworks show and a great celebration with music and dance, ready to make the journey or the descent of “La Chinita” or Virgen del Carmen..

 

 

Big Party

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The event takes place on July 16 and is the most important day of the whole festival, as it is the day when people take the image of the virgin and parade her through the town of La Tirana. The procession starts around 2:00 pm and goes through the streets of the town. The parade goes on for hours of dancing and music until 10:00 pm when the procession ends and they wait for the clock to strike midnight to say goodbye.

 

Farewell

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The next few days are also performed the dance and music presentations until July 19, when the ceremony of the closing mass takes place, ending the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana..

 

Hundreds of groups congregate to dance during the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana

Hundreds of groups congregate to dance during the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana

 

Virgen de la Tirana Festivity Parades

 

The celebration of the parade or procession is the highlight of the festivities. The peopletake the image of the virgin and make the procession through the streets of the town. During this act, a large number of presentations and dances are performed by the groups, so you can see hundreds of colorful costumes and masks of devils dancing in the company of music.

The procession is undoubtedly the purest sample of the devotion of the pilgrims, since the event is somewhat extensive, beginning at two in the afternoon and culminating at 10 at night, fulfilling an event of 8 hours.

 

Procession Route

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Hundreds of thousands of parishioners congregate to commemorate the virgin during the Feast of the Virgin of La Tirana

Hundreds of thousands of parishioners congregate to commemorate the virgin during the Feast of the Virgin of La Tirana

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The possession begins at 2 o’clock in the afternoon when they walk through the streets of the town La Tirana. The event lasts until 10 pm and is expected at midnight to enhance the withdrawal of the dances.

 

The empanada de pino is a typical dish of the region

The empanada de pino is a typical dish of the region

 

What to eat in the Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana[/h2>.

During the celebration you will see hundreds of food stalls and stores, so you don’t have to worry about what to eat during the festivities. In the stores you can see a lot of food and drink, usually traditional food, although you can also find typical street food..

One of the typical foods of the region is the empanada de pino, a cake made of wheat flour with water, milk and eggs which is then filled with minced meat and stewed with spices and vegetables.

The area also has alfajores. The sweet is similar to the alfajor in Argentina, as it consists of two wheat flour cookies that are bound together with dulce de leche. The cookies in Chilean alfajores are generally sugar-free and somewhat lighter than that of Argentine alfajores.

The offer of food places in the locality is somewhat scarce, so we offer you some offers near the town. Some of these places are: Ancestral Restaurant, Comida al Paso, Restaurant La Reina del Sur, Ispaya Kurmis, Restaurant Aly Gourmet, El Pomelo and Restaurant Yatiri..

 

Alfajores are one of the traditional sweets of the area

Alfajores are one of the traditional sweets of the area

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Travel Insurance

 

From Carnavalesdelmundo.org we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurance. Read more information about all insurance offers here:

 

 

What to see and do during the Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana

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Once you find yourself at the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana, you cans attend the big dance event held on the first day of the ceremony. You will be able to see hundreds and hundreds of groups that perform various dance and music performances, all of these in their different genres and styles.

In addition, you can also accompany the parishioners during the eve of the Day of the Virgin, make bonfires and wait until midnight to celebrate with music, dance and fireworks.

Finally, you canparticipate in the procession of the Day of the Virgin. The parade occupies the vast majority of the streets of La Tirana and extends for 8 hours of celebration. In addition, if you wish, you can stay until the mass, the ceremony that closes the festivities..

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in English in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world

 

What to see and do outside of the Fiestas de la Virgen de la Tirana

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Tourist attractions in La Tirana are somewhat scarce, so we offer you some alternatives close to the town.

 

Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve

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It is a national reserve that occupies some 102,264 hectares and an altitude of 970 meters above sea level. Among its vegetation is the Tamarugo, a tree that can grow in the saline areas. In ancient times the reserve had more flora; however, it was exterminated in order to produce firewood.

 

Ancient Temple

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It is a replica of one of the ancient temples. The temple was built in 1990 and is located right next to the main cemetery of the village.

 

Temple of La Tirana

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It is the main temple of the town and where the celebrations of the Fiestas de la Tirana take place. The facade has a simple architecture and the interior occupies a dome with wooden beams.

Also, if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting

 

Safety at the Fiestas de la Virgen de la Tirana

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The town of La Tirana is a safe place. However, we recommend you walk the streets with caution and do not carry jewelry or watches that are too conspicuous.

Also, remember to be alert to your surroundings and contact the authorities in case you recognize any suspicious activity. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your belongings safe:

 

 

Weather at the Feast of the Virgin of La Tirana

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During the celebration of Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana, the town has a pleasant climate, with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

 

The people perform dance presentations during the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana

The people perform dance presentations during the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Tirana

 

How to get to the Fiestas de la Virgen de la Tirana

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How to get there by plane

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The closest airport to the town of La Tirana is the Diego Aracena Aguilar International Airport, which is located about 60 kilometers away in the city of Iquique. The airport receives some flights from Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay and some domestic flights such as fromSantiago de Chile, La Serena and Concepción. Once here, you can use the various means of transportation to reach the town.

We recommend buying airline tickets through Kiwi.com or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review Kiwi.com..

 

How to get there by bus

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From the Diego Aracena Aguilar International Airport you can take a bus to the Terminal Esmeralda. Once there, you must walk for about 5 minutes until you reach the Iquique Rodoviario Terminal in Iquique. Once there, you can take a bus to La Tirana. The entire trip takes 2 hours and 30 minutes and the price of the entire trip ranges between 8 and 22 US dollars.

 

How to get there by car

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From the airport you can take Route 1 and the Humberstone Iquique Highway or Route 16. The trip takes one hour and 34 minutes.

If you wish to take a cab, the taxi fare ranges from US$90 to US$110.

 

Where to stay at the Festival of the Virgin of La Tirana

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Lodging in the town of La Tirana is somewhat scarce, so we offer you some alternatives in the areas surrounding the town. Remember that the sooner you book your lodging, the better, since during the festivities hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are received.

 



Booking.com

 

Ecodesert Cabins

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Hotel 4 kilometers from the center of the village La Tirana. The rooms have closet, kitchen, flat screen satellite TV, private bathroom with basic toiletries and refrigerator. In addition, the establishment has a barbecue area, 24-hour reception, swimming pools and coffee maker set. The hotel offers recreational activities such as hiking.

 

El Huarango Eco retreat

House 7 kilometers from the center of the town of La Tirana. Facilities include barbecue area, garden and parking. In addition, bar, wifi in common areas and breakfasts are offered.

 

El Rincón del Sol

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Series of apartments located 14 kilometers from the center of La Tirana Town. The facilities offer outdoor swimming pool, terrace, garden, parking and pets are allowed. In addition, the apartment has 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, television and kitchen.

We recommend you to use Booking.com to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.



 

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