Many major holidays are observed in Chile, especially those associated with Catholicism. However, given the influx of foreigners living in Santiago and foreign cultures being viewed in movies, online, and in other media, the celebration of other secular holidays is growing in Santiago as well. Additionally, some of the most popular holidays the world over are the vacations taken in summer and winter, and Chile is no exception.
Being a largely Catholic nation, Easter Sunday is celebrated throughout Chile. On Easter morning, children receive baskets of candy and small toys. Most people make an effort to spend the day with their families. Many people attend mass on Good Friday, which is a national holiday for the workforce. Catholic dietary restrictions are generally observed on Good Friday as well, with many households preparing elaborate seafood meals.
Day of the Dead is observed on the first of November. It, too, is a national holiday for workers. Families visit their loved ones’ graves and memorial sites, decorate them with flowers, and often spend the afternoon there with refreshments like soda, sandwiches, and the popular springtime sweet mote con huesillos. The cemeteries throughout Santiago are alive with commotion on the Day of the Dead, and innumerable vendors of flowers, decorations, and food can be found outside. They are worth a visit if you live in a country that does not observe this holiday.
Many secular holiday celebrations are increasingly observed in Santiago. Chile has enjoyed an Irish influence throughout its history, and the numerous Irish Pubs throughout Providencia and Central Santiago attest to that. Visiting them for St. Patrick’s Day gets more popular every year. Halloween parties can be found in houses, hostels, and bars, and costume contests are indeed a common activity. Some neighborhoods throughout Santiago are even beginning to hold trick-or-treating for costumed children. It is apparent when Valentine’s Day is coming due to the increased availability of flowers, candies, cards, and dinner offers for couples.
Chilean schools have a long summer holiday from Christmas to March and a shorter winter one for a few weeks in July. The workforce reflects that, with many businesses nearly requiring that two-or-three week vacations be taken in February because the amount of work available is minimal. Santiago is resultantly peaceful in the summer, with many residents away at the beach cities. Travelling in central and southern Chile may be slightly more expensive during this time, but there is enough to see and do in the country that the only places that are really crowded are the beaches nearest to Santiago.
Although children have winter vacations, many adults work through them. Chileans who ski and snowboard will take vacation days throughout the winter, or even a long weekend to visit the mountains in other parts of the country. The ski resorts near Santiago have very limited lodging on site. Resultantly, the resorts attract tourism to the city of Santiago during the winter, which is when many tourists from the Northern hemisphere come to enjoy the mountains. Although the weather conditions are inversed, it is fun and convenient to come to Santiago during its holiday times and participate in a culture as relaxed as its visitors.