The Big Festival (La Fiesta Grande)
From: Tuesday, December 25 2007, 7:00 pm
to: Wednesday, December 26 2007, 6:59 pm
Andacollo's Fiesta Grande is a religious gathering that draws crowds of up to 150,000, who converge on this small town in central Chile to worship the patron saint of local mines, La Virgen del Rosario (The Virgin of the Rosary).
Thousands of pilgrims and festival-goers flock to one of the few remaining copper-mining communities in Chile to join in the festivities. The Virgin is housed in a temple that has the capacity to hold more than 10,000 people. Thousands camp nearby and the festivities include elaborately-costumed dancers, cockfighting, horseracing and feasting. The town itself only dates back to 1891 but the roots of the festival go back centuries.
Set against a backdrop of the snow-capped volcano Aconcagua in the rural Andes, there is no better way to get away from it all.