Concón, Chile: Lookin’ good after 468 years! (Part 2)

Candy Vendor, Concón, August 2009

Candy Vendor, Concón, August 2009

Concón, one of Chile’s popular beach resorts, goes all out with murgas, comparsa, cueca, cumbia, ranchera, diablada, and bailes pascuenses to celebrate its 468 years of history.

Sunday, August 30, 2009.  The party continues. Last night Concón celebrated its 468th anniversary with influences from Brazil (samba-esque Comparsas), Colombia (cumbia), Mexico (rancheras and Marco Antonio Solis impersonator), but today it’s all about Chile, with dances from the north, south, center, and even Rapa Nui (which you may think is called Easter Island). (See part 1 of Concón Celebrates here).

But first a bit about the motives behind all this festivity and pageantry. Yes, you knew it was coming… just a little bit of history.

468 years. That’s a long time in the New World. As a point of reference, New York City’s disputed founding date centers somewhere around 1625. Here’ we’re talking about August of 1541, which is pretty impressive considering Pedro de Valdivia had only claimed the territory for the Crown a few months earlier, in February of the same year! It seems they were extracting gold from the Estero Marga Marga (which is now in Viña del Mar) and set up a shipyard in Concón to build a brigantine (a fancy 2-masted sailing ship) to get the haul back to the homeland. Good idea; not so good results… it turns out that there was a mutiny of sorts and the ship got hijacked along with the gold and that was the end of that, but the shipyard continued to operate, along with the Hacienda de Concón there in what was known as Puerto Concón.

Other highlights in its long history include the bloody Battle of Concón in 1891 during a Civil War—approximately half of the 8000 men were killed or injured. Happier times lay ahead, however, and it was named a comuna (municipality) under Limache in 1899 and later switched to fall under Viña del Mar, and only recently, in 1995, did it become the fully independent Ilustre Municipalidad de Concón.

Concón has been a popular seaside vacation spot since 1917 and expanded greatly after the coastal route from Viña to Concón was completed in 1930. The most recent census (2002) showed a population of 32,273 people, pretty much divided miti-miti (half and half) men and women.

Want to know more? You can find plenty more information at the city’s website: www.concon.cl

Ok, so now for what you’re really here for… the pictures!

The show started in the late afternoon with a group of seniors dancing traditional folkloric huaso-and-china style cueca

Señoras preparing to dance cueca in Concón, August 2009

Señoras preparing to dance cueca in Concón, August 2009

Dancing the Cueca, Concón, August 2009

Dancing the Cueca, Concón, August 2009

Next came the Grupo Folklórico Here-Taina, which celebrates the culture and dance of Rapa Nui, the Chilean island territory better known elsewhere as Easter Island.

Grupo Folklórico Here-Taina performs dances from Napa Nui (Easter Island)

Grupo Folklórico Here-Taina performs dances from Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Jaime Olivares of the Grupo Folklórico Here-Taina

Jaime Olivares of the Grupo Folklórico Here-Taina

This is a dance group from Concón that performs dances based on those of northern Chile.

Unfortunately I do not know their name (If you know, please tell me so I can give them their due credit!)

Dancers from Concón

Dancers from Concón

As night fell, the guest group Fantasía Folklórica Chilena de la Comuna de Maipú performed a “Diablada,” a traditional dance of Andean cultures in northern Chile as well as Peru and Bolivia. In Chile it is best known in association with the celebration of La Tirana on July 16.

La Diablada (northern Chile), Fantasía Chilena de Santiago

La Diablada (northern Chile), Fantasía Folklórica Chilena de la Comuna de Maipú

The show wrapped up with a lively round of cueca and blasts of chaya (confetti).

The gran finale with confetti, Fantasía Chilena de Santiago

The grand finale with confetti, Fantasía Folklórica Chilena de la Comuna de Maipú

12 responses to “Concón, Chile: Lookin’ good after 468 years! (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Concón, Chile: Lookin’ good after 468 years! (Part 1) « Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

  2. Great set of posts! It looks like quite the party. You got some beautiful shots and I liked the touch of history. Happy 468th Concon!

  3. It was a lot of fun! I love the small town feeling there that makes it all feel so much more personal!

  4. It reckoned Margaret,

    In name of Fantasy Folckorica Chilean, we thank you your note and photographs of our assembly in your important media,

    It receives our cordial greetings and in which we can collaborate you, counts on us,

    Affections,

    Andrea Gaete Associate and Authorized
    Fantasy Folcklorica Chilean

  5. The pleasure was truly mine! I’m looking forward to seeing your wonderful group again soon!

    Era todo un placer verles actuar y espero que nos encontramos de nuevo muy luego!
    Muchos saludos-
    Margaret.

  6. All I want to say to you is congratulations for the fantastic blog that you have, it makes me appreciate even more my country in some way and i’m glad that you feel comfortable in here!!

    And I can’t wait on the next blog!!!!
    xoxo alejandra

  7. Thanks!! But I have to say that Chile is a constant source of inspiration and there’s always something interesting going on… Never a dull moment! My list of things I want to write about keeps growing and growing!!

  8. It’s an interesting post, especially the picture of “La Diablada”. I was in Peru on July 16 and saw the same dance at the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen in Pisac (near Cusco). Wish I were still in Chile to check out the Chilean version!

  9. Hi Kristen- Yes, the Diablada has indigenous roots and is done in southern Perú, Bolivia, and northern Chile. It’s interesting that they do it in Perú on July 16 as well as in Chile. Here it is Día del Carmen, for the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of Chile. There’s an enormous celebration in La Tirana (near Iquique in the north) that day… I’d like to know more what exactly they’re celebrating on that day in Perú… Is it Carmen as well? (they certainly won’t celebrate anything to do with Chile!) perhaps the date has a significance of its own in the Aymara culture! Hmmm… homework for me!

  10. Loved the history, and of course the photos, especially the leaping one. I can’t believe your good fortune to happen upon it that one weekend. Do you think you’ll go back on purpose next year?

  11. Thanks! And it was definitely a case of being in the right town at the right time! Actually though, Concón has lots of fun stuff. It’s just far enough away from the city (cities) to have plenty of small town charm!
    And did you see Lydia’s piece on the clown parade? (http://pintadegringa.blogspot.com/2009/09/ii-encuentro-internacional-de-payasos.html) I would have loved to have been there for that!

  12. Pingback: Cachando Chile: a Year in Review « Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

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