Chile's Military Parade Puppies

Chile puppy parade

When you think ‘military parade,’ puppies are probably not the first thing that comes to mind.
At least, not until the adorable police puppies of Chile recently stole the show at a Chilean military parade celebrating the country’s independence.
While more than 9,500 Chilean troops marched in the Great Military Parade in Santiago’s O’Higgins Park as part of Chile’s 208th Independence Day celebrations, the troop of golden retriever puppies from the canine unit of the Carabineros de Chile, Chile’s national police force, stole the show.
Media the world over couldn’t help but fall for the adorable pups being marched in front of the millions in attendance for the celebration, but despite the puppy troupe garnering more attention than ever before, it was not the first time they’ve participated in Chile’s Independence Day celebrations, having made their debut in 2008.
And while the puppies stole the international headlines, there was a lot more going on for the festivities than simply puppies in carriers.
The Fiestas Patrias is a treasured and proud celebration for Chileans. The event, often referred to as the Dieciocho as it is officially celebrated on September 18th, can be followed by up to a week of celebrations. It is held close to the Southern Hemisphere’s spring equinox so as to double as a spring festival, as Chile’s Declaration of Independence took place on February 12.
While police puppies on parade are becoming a much-anticipated part of the celebrations, more traditional activities include Chilean rodeos, cueca dancing, barbecue, and religious ceremonies such as the ‘Te Deum Ecuménico de Fiestsas Patrias, which has taken place every year since 1811.
Per custom, it is mandatory to hang a Chilean flag from every single building in the country on September 18th and 19th, and violation of the rule is actually punishable with fines of up to 40,000 pesos (about $80), although it isn’t always enforced.
It’s also a huge holiday for travel throughout Chile with estimates of more than 2 million Chileans traveling during the holiday every year, visiting family and friends, or traveling to resorts on the Pacific coast in Chile’s Vińa del Mar region.
If you’re looking to travel to Chile for Fiestas Patrias you’ll want to make sure you get into one of the fondas at Parque O’Higgins, where mouth-watering traditional Chilean dishes are served out of specially decorated tents. Be sure to get your hands (and mouth) on a few of the legendary Chilean empanadas packed-full of a delicious mix of chopped beef and onion, raisins, hard-boiled eggs, and olives.
Then of course there’s the aforementioned barbecue. How much barbecue exactly? Well, according to the Chilean government, meat sales during the holiday exceed $500 million. That’s a lot of Asado Chileno!
Thinking of traveling to Chile for the Fiestas Patrias or any of the number of incredible celebrations and festivities taking part throughout South America every year? Give our team of South America and Central America travel experts a call and we’ll get to work to find the right South American festivities to fit your travel schedule.