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Cuasimodo Celebrations in Chile


On the Sunday after Easter, parish priests in colonial times went forth to take the Holy Sacraments to the elderly and infirm who couldn't get to church on Easter Sunday. They were guarded by groups of huasos, or cowboys, who protected them from bandits after the silver chalices. Along the way, the priests and their bodyguards were given food and drink, usually chicha or wine, to wash away the road dust.

The tradition continued over the years, primarily in the Santiago area, in the municipalities of Lo Barnechea, La Florida, Maipú, La Reina and especially in Colina. Today, it is a revered festival known also as "correr a Cristo," or run to Christ.

The day-long celebration begins with a mass, then a procession of the parish priest, drawn in a decorated carriage, mounted huasos, runners, bicycles, carts, and thousands of people, adults and children alike, gets underway with the shout "¡Viva Cristo Rey!"

They make their way through town, stopping at homes along the way, and finish the day with music, food and dance. And more chicha and wine, of course.

Cuasimodo has nothing to do with the Quasimodo of fiction, nor is it the name of a saint or holy person, but is attributed to the Latin used in Catholic ceremonies. Whatever the origin, this is a time-honored festival.

Although an armed bodyguard is no longer necessary, the tradition remains strong as fathers train their sons to participate in the festival.

They wear traditional clothing (see Huasos plus red, white and blue, the colors of the Chilean Huasos. Some of the participants wear white or colored cloths on their heads.

To attend the celebrations, check flights from your area to Santiago. You can also browse for hotels and car rentals.

Consult this list of hotels in Santiago for availability, rates, amenities, location, activities and other specific information.

Read about Semana Santa Celebrations:

  • South America - Holy Week
  • Ayacucho, Cuzco, Huaraz and Tarma, Peru
  • Colombia and Venezuela
  • Ouro Breto, Brazil

    If you've participated in Semana Santa celebrations anywhere in South America, please share your experiences via the South America for Visitors Forum.

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