Category Archives: Art

Colored Briefs and Other NYE Traditions

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Without yellow underwear, you shall have no love! Chileans have a lot of superstitions and traditions surrounding New Year’s. One of them is to wear yellow drawers or “calzones amarillos” to ensure you find a mate in  the upcoming year. Many of them involve midnight, of course. As the clock strikes twelve, there is the usual affection. Everyone hugs and there are lots of kisses going around. After that one must eat either 12 grapes or 12 spoonfuls of lentils representing each month of the year in order to ensure abundance and luck. Some people put a clove of garlic in the wallet or make sure to have cash in hand as the New Year rings in to guarantee sufficient wealth. It is considered lucky if you receive a kilogram of salt as a gift and store it throughout the year. Theoretically this brings abundance. Some people like to dance to Tommy Rey’s song Un Año Más [One More Year] as well. I’m sure there are others, so if you know of another or if you have a good one from your country, please share.

Now what I don’t know is the origin of some of these [garlic – vampires?], which I’m going to try to find out. I’m heading off to La Serena and the Valle de Elqui for the New Year’s week, so I’ll see you in next month.

One more thing, if you’re in Santiago, don’t forget to check out Santiago a Mil going on all over the city in January.

South American Sundays

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Big Red Giraffes

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The giraffes are coming! A French performance group called Compagnie Off recently performed several free public shows throughout Chile during the annual event Santiago a Mil. The event’s purpose is to showcase theater, live music and film from Chile and all over the world during the hot summer here in January. I got some fun pictures of the giraffes making their way down the street in the Recoleta neighborhood of Santiago. Before they can march their way down the street, people first pass through carrying large wooden sticks to raise up the wires lining the street so they can fit. They arrive at the end of the route and perform a sort of elevated circus spectacular with music and a touch of fire. Two people fit inside of one costume and glide down the street on wheels holding wires that hoist up the giraffes and maneuver their big red heads. In one of the photos here you can see the silhouette of the giraffe-operators. Nuts!

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Here is a video taken of a nighttime show in Antofogasta: