October 02, 2023 #Life & Culture

With empanadas, red wine and sopaipillas: Compatriots around the world celebrate their Chilean identity

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Chilean food, folklore and idiosyncrasies are some of the traditions used by Chileans abroad to keep their national identity and culture alive. 

September is the month of Chilean identity, and although Chile is the main scene of the festivities, it is not the only place where it is celebrated. From countries as diverse as Panama, Germany, South Korea, Mexico and Portugal, Chileans share how they celebrate September 18 and the traditions they maintain. 

Thousands of kilometers away, the country's culinary traditions serve as a bridge for Chileans living abroad, as they are the essence of the celebrations that take place beyond our borders. "Sopaipillas, casserole, 'calzones rotos' pastries, a little food transports me to Chile," says Alexander Cornejo from Porto, Portugal. "What do I miss about Chile? Empanadas, Chilean bread. Oh! There is nothing like Chilean bread," exclaims Davis Espíndola from Lison, Portugal. Likewise, Rodrigo Mas, who has lived in Mexico for 22 years, mentions Chilean wine in particular: "I have always remembered my beloved country with red wines, which are very good." 

Dancing cueca and making jokes 

But it is not only through food that the country is brought closer to the Chilean community abroad. Chilean folklore and sense of humor also help to remind us of the country that we miss. "They make our environment a little more Chilean," mentions Pamela Bravo, who has lived in New York for more than 30 years. 

"I brought our folklore, our national dance, with me here, which I do in a folklore group called Raíces de Chile (Roots of Chile). I have been doing it for a while now, the cueca, so our roots remain and we continue to spread them throughout the world," says Salvador Ramírez, originally from the Valparaiso Region, who has lived between Germany and Spain for the past eight years. 

Lucía Zárate, originally from the Biobío Region, and a resident of Frankfurt for 15 years, is also part of a folklore group. "This way, we can keep sharing and demonstrating our culture in this city," she states. 

For painter Francisco Badilla, who lives in Portugal, Chilean humor and idiosyncrasies are some of the things that he misses: "Enjoyment, like the Chilean sense of humor, for example, is different here". From Panama, Patricio Azócar also recalls the Chilean sense of humor: "Getting together early to joke about and talk. I really miss being with a group of friends, getting together around a barbecue." 

And just like for some it is the food, and for others the folklore and the Chilean way of being that brings them closer to their country, on these national holidays each of them will search for that little piece of Chile that they continue to hold dear. 

"Although we are 15,000 kilometers away, Chile is still in our hearts," says Lucía Zárate from Germany. 

To read these and other testimonies of Chileans around the world, click here:



Image of Chile