Customs and traditions
Chilean label is not very different from the
one in the West in general. Most often, Chileans are
less formal than other Latin Americans, but some rules
are still there. The Chileans are proud of their country
and cultural heritage. Therefore, it is good if the
person who is to visit Chile first tries to learn
something about the country and its history.
Chileans are mostly friendly and polite even to
strangers. They are known for their bitchy humor.
A person is often judged on how he / she is dressed -
anyone who is not "whole and clean" risks not being
taken seriously or that they look down on him / her. The
Chileans themselves are careful with their clothing and
often have a sophisticated style. However, they do not
dress up for dinner, for example.
Overview of the capital city of Chile, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
How to greet
When you meet a Chilean for the first time, you shake
hands fairly formally while looking the person in the
eyes and saying goodbye (buenos días) or what
fits in time (buenas tardes in the afternoon
and buenas noches in the evening). You do the
same when you leave someone but then say adiós
or use the less formal chao. Chileans may seem
reserved compared to other Latin Americans, but this
does not apply to those you know well. Then men can hug
each other while women kiss on the cheek (right cheek,
once, even men). You greet the oldest person first and
you are happy to use titles. First name and address
tú(you) are only used to close friends, so use last
name and usted (you) until someone suggests
something else. Men get up when a woman enters the room.
Many Chileans enjoy talking for a long time and
discussing. It is not at all nonsensical to interrupt
someone in the speech - on the contrary, it is
considered a sign that you are interested in what is
At a dinner party
If you are home-invited to a Chilean you should bring
something - flowers (which you can also send in
advance), chocolate or wine, preferably something to any
children in the family. Remember that yellow roses
signify contempt and purple flowers symbolize death.
Anyone who receives a gift should open it immediately.
Women should not give gifts to men in business, as it
can be misunderstood and taken as an invitation.
Wait until you are assigned where to sit - women sit
first. Thank you for food that is served and eaten on
the plate but never take over. Sit with your hands on
the table (but not the elbows), never eat with just the
fork but use both knife and fork but don't talk with
cutlery in your hands. Wait for a drink until the host
first bowls, say salud (bowl) and look it in
the eyes as the bowl.
In Chile, you are more punctual than elsewhere in
Latin America, but you usually never arrive earlier than
20 minutes after an agreed time for a dinner or other
unofficial invitation (for official events or business
meetings, however, you can arrive on time).
When Chileans talk to each other, they are often
quite close to each other. Anyone who withdraws is
considered either shy or unpleasant.
It is important to allow a meeting to take the time
it takes and to devote plenty of time to initially
talking about everything but business to get to know the
counterparty and build confidence in it. Chileans are
often perceived as honest and trustworthy, but they also
want to be polite, which means that they avoid openly
criticizing anyone or making negative comments. They try
to avoid pure confrontations in their business meetings
and sometimes say what they think you want to hear. Nor
should anyone lose their dignity. Therefore, it is
important to try to "read between the lines", for
example interpreting gestures and body language.
Business cards, preferably with one page translated into
Spanish, should be handed over at the beginning of a
meeting. Be sure the card is in good condition - dog
ears or stains can,
Things to avoid
Don't try to bribe anyone, at least a police officer.
Chile is perhaps the least corrupt country in Latin
America. Do not discuss Pinochet and his dictatorship
anyway, anytime and with anyone - it is a delicate
subject where the Chileans are split. Do not yawn or
stretch when others see - it is considered impolite.
Never be condescending - instead, be as friendly and
frequent as possible. Don't talk too well and often
Traditions and holidays
Most religious festivals are linked to the Catholic
faith (although, for example, Protestant or Jewish
celebrations are celebrated) and many of these are
In addition to weekends like Christmas and Easter,
for example, Virgin Mary's spotless birth (December 8)
is celebrated, when many Chileans pilgrimage to the
shrine of Santuario de la Virgen de lo Vásquez, eight
miles from Santiago. On All Saints' Day (November 1),
the dead are celebrated with flowers and visits to the
Sometimes the Catholic and indigenous peoples'
customs are mixed, like at the Tirana festival. It is
held for three days in July in the village of the same
name, located a few miles inland from the port city of
Iquique in northern Chile, near the Atacama Desert. Here
you dance on the streets of the village in colorful
costumes and with devil masks.
The most important holiday is not religious. It is
Chile's Independence Day (September 18), which in 2010
was particularly festive as it was the 200th
anniversary. Independence Day is celebrated, among other
things, by folk dances, like cueca, and by
flying kite. You also eat traditional dishes such as
empanadas, (small pastries filled with meat,
cheese, etc.), pastel de choclo (a meat stew
cooked in special small black ceramic pots) or
parrillada (various grilled dishes). Everything is
washed down with large quantities of wine, pisco
(grape wine) or chicha (apple brandy). During
the celebration, special characters such as el huaso,
the Chilean cowboy, orel roto chileno, the poor
chilean who fought with Spanish courage and cunning.
Right success in the elections
13th of December
No candidate gets more than half the votes in the first round of the
presidential election, so a second round is held in January. Sebastian Piñera of
the Middle Right Alliance The Coalition for Change (formerly the Alliance for
Chile) gets the most votes, 44 percent, and the second Eduardo Frei gets 30
percent. They will meet in a crucial election in January 2010. In the concurrent
congressional elections, the outcome will be very even. The Coalition for Change
gets 58 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 16 in the Senate, while the
center-left Alliance Concertación gets 57 and 19 seats, respectively.
Tightened conflict with Peru
A Peruvian officer is accused of selling military secrets to Chile, something
the Chilean government rejects. Relations with neighboring countries have
deteriorated since Chile held a military exercise near the disputed border in
October (see January 2008).
The President visits Cuba
President Michelle Bachelet visits Cuba. This is the first time in 40 years
that a Chilean leader is visiting the Socialist State in the Caribbean.
Success for the right in municipal elections
The Middle Right Group Alliance for Chile takes place in local elections.
Volcanic eruptions lead to evacuations
Two cities in Patagonia must be evacuated when volcano Chaitén erupts after
resting for 9,000 years.
Conflict with Peru on sea border
Peru appeals to the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) in the
dispute with Chile over where the sea border between the countries should go.