Happy 18th!!!!!

by Carmen Cruz

Feliz Dieciocho to all the Chileans out there!!!    

 Every 18th of September, Chileans across the globe celebrate what was the beginning of the independence of our country (September 18, 1810).

One of the most famous wines from Chile
Today, Chileans everywhere will be eating traditional food (empanadas please!), sharing a glass or two of vino tinto (red wine) and dancing till long after the sun has set (maybe a cueca - if we've had enough to drink).

Just picked up these empanadas today. Mmmmmm...

There were a bunch of Chilean parties celebrating 'El Dieciocho' last weekend, and I'm sure there will be even more this coming weekend. A few friends and I stopped by a shin-dig last Saturday, and I have to say, I was thankful for the Chilean cueca dance lessons my parents forced me to take when I was young. You might be asking yourself, what exactly IS a cueca? Well here ya go...

 In between all our eating, drinking and dancing, we even managed to participate in a cueca dancing contest towards the end of the party. While none of us actually won, it was hilarious to see what dance moves we remembered from our childhood.
**Note: Most of us Chilean kids (growing up in Canada) were forced to go to 'Chilean school' on Saturdays. We were also "encouraged" (aka: forced - again) to spend at least 2 nights a week practicing folkloric dances with the dance groups our parents would "encourage" us to join. Believe it or not, my mother actually found an old VHS tape (ACK! OLD!!!) of one of my 'performances'. This video will never, I repeat, NEVER see the light of day.
 At the time, all of us kids hated spending our precious free time in 'Chilean school' or in 'Chilean dance groups'- but it's pretty safe to say that now we can look back and be incredibly thankful that we had the opportunity to learn about and maintain our cultural roots... even if it wasn't by choice. **

So if you have any Chilean friends, tell them to have a 'Feliz Dieciocho!!!'... and then tell them how much you looooove Chilean wine. Maybe if you're lucky, they'll invite you over for a glass or two, and once they've had a few drinks, maybe, just maybe, they'll dance a little cueca for you (Gad forbid!).