As another busy year comes to an end, This is Chile runs down the best ways to see in 2014 — and some of the quirky traditions you might come across in the process.
New Year’s Eve in Chile comes hand-in-hand with a raft of traditions adopted by eager revelers keen to curry good fortune in the coming year. If you’re out and about, you might see the curious sight of people lugging empty suitcases around the block. Why? It’s said to bode well for future travel plans.
Another popular tradition — this one also common in other countries such as Spain — is to eat 12 grapes, one per toll of the bell on the final countdown to the new year. This little quirk is said to ensure a year of affluence.
And, for those more interested in getting lucky in love, there is the tradition of yellow underwear — apparently a failsafe good luck charm for anyone hoping to meet someone special.
Fireworks or firesides
So now we know how to secure good fortune for the next year, but what about how to finish 2013 off in style?
The capital’s public New Year’s celebrations center around the Torre Entel — a 418 foot tall television and communications tower in downtown Santiago — from which an extravagant firework display will light up the skies for miles around. Kicking off at midnight, the show attracts big crowds so make sure you scout out a good vantage spot early!
For those looking to see in the New Year moving and shaking, the annual Castillo Party is not only a guaranteed lively knees up, it’s also got one of the best seats in the house to take in the views. This multi-room bash caters for various tastes with music ranging from electro to indie to 90s disco. Although tickets are a little dear — starting at 30,000 pesos — the setting, atop Cerro Santa Lucia, guarantees a spectacular view of the city and, of course, the nearby fireworks from the Torre Entel.
Check out the website for further details.
Many Chileans claim the end of year firework show in the bay of Valparaíso is the most spectacular of its kind in the world, a bold claim indeed. Attend the spectacle, however, and you may well come away a convert. Fantastic, bright colors erupt from all angles of the bay — many of the launching stations are on ships moored a short distance out — painting a psychedelic montage of vivid reds, greens, yellows and almost every other shade you can imagine on the dark night sky.
Once the show is over, the party continues. With thousands of people flocking to the UNESCO heritage city to celebrate, the streets of Valparaíso are full of life, while Plaza Sotomayor boasts a stage and live music throughout the night.
Among family and friends
A lot of Chileans eschew the massive crowds for a gathering with friends and family. The country’s warm Christmas season means that a barbeque in the garden is always a sure-fire success, so see if you can swing an end to a traditional gathering and ring in the new year with a choripan in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other —the Chilean way!