This year the Chilean independence celebration dovetailed with the Whole World in Split event. Chilean ambassador Juan Luis Nilo was in Split to welcome the people that gathered at the waterfront celebration that saw seven Cueca dancers performing this attractive Chilean national dance.
The Whole World in Split is an event staged in the last week of September, organised by the Jedinstvo Culture and Arts Society and the Tourism Board of the City of Split. It coincides with the Fiestas Patrias, Chile’s most important national holiday, celebrating its independence.
Chile achieved its independence on the 18th of September 1810. It is home to seventeen million people, of whom 300 thousand are the descendants of ethnic Croatians, most having moved there from the island of Brač and some from the Omiš area. Chile stretches along some 4,300 kilometres of the Pacific coast of South America and covers climatic zones ranging from desert in the north to polar in the south. It is the most stable country in the region and the first South American country to have recognised Croatian independence and to have opened an embassy in Zagreb. There are significant links between the two countries built on the fact that Chile is home to an ethnic Croatian community that largely draws its roots from our southern region of Dalmatia.
The City of Split has two cities it has twinned with in Chile: Punta Arenas and Antofagasta. Thanks to the work of the CHF branch office in Split there is a lively collaboration in the fields of education, culture and sports, including links between universities and elementary schools; Bol Elementary School in Split and Republica de Croacia School of Punta Arenas for example. Young Chileans of Croatian extraction are enthusiastic participants of the Croaticum course, an intensive Croatian language instruction programme staged at the University of Split’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences under scholarships provided by the State Office for Croats Abroad. Some of the participants remain in Split after the course, and some settle permanently. Their children attend Bol Elementary School. The small ethnic Croatian Chilean community in Split that has now emerged celebrates Chilean independence every year.
This year there was an opportunity to dovetail this event with the Whole World in Split event. Chilean ambassador Juan Luis Nilo made the trip from Zagreb to Split for the occasion to welcome the people that gathered at the waterfront in Split. The celebration included seven Cueca dancers performing this attractive Chilean national dance to the delight of the audience of Split residents.
By: Branka Bezić Filipović