Chile: faith in the desert

La Tirana is a small town with just over 800 inhabitants located in the Pampas of Tamarugal, in the heart of the Atacama Desert, in Chile. Almost 200,000 spectators come here every year on July 16 to attend Chile’s most famous and colorful religious festival in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The most important moment of the festival celebrated in honor of the Virgin is that of the dance. Dance companies such as Promeseros, Gitanos, Cuyacas, Osos, Chunchos, Morenos, Pieles Rojas, Chinos and Diabladas perform their lively dances on an esplanade in front of the Church of La Tirana to the rhythm of drums, whistles and trumpets played by marching bands. Each group wears different clothes that are prepared during the year by the dancers themselves and by faithful and religious belonging to the various groups. Every detail of the costume has a symbolic meaning and nothing is left to chance.

Image by bluaz58 from Pixabay

It so happens that thanks to tourists from Peru and Bolivia but also from the United States and Europe, La Tirana turns into a small town with thousands of inhabitants for a few days.

Among the main masks, the one of the Diablada group stands out, representing the traditional figure of the devil of the Plateau, the Supay, which shows negative and positive traits of the eternal struggle between good and evil.

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