Fiesta Grande

Grande, Fiesta

December 24-26
Around Christmas time, thousands of Chilean pilgrims gather to honor the Virgen del Rosario (Virgin of the Rosary), patron saint of miners. The ceremonies take place in the copper-mining town of Andacollo, situated in the Andes mountains. The centerpiece of the festival is a famous three-foot wooden statue of the Virgin that is housed in Andacollo's basilica.
The festival pre-dates the founding of Andacollo in 1891. According to legend, an indigenous man found the statue of the Virgin, which is ascribed with magical powers, in the hills of Peru. The relic later found a permanent shrine in the basilica and thereafter became a sacred pilgrimage site.
The festival's main proceedings take place on December 26, during which a religious dance is performed in indigenous costume. Nearby, cockfighting and horseracing attract participants as alterative secular activities.
Andacollo also hosts a separate celebration, Fiesta Chica, which takes place on the first Sunday of October and coincides with the Festival of the Rosary. During that ceremony, the venerated statue is transported from the nearby Temple Antiguo to the basilica in a procession that also features indigenous dances.
Embassy of Chile to the United States of America
1732 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-785-1746; fax: 202-887-5579
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