13 Jul 2012
The La Tirana festival is a religious celebration that represents the blend of traditional Aymara beliefs with Christian heritage passed on by the Spanish.
This festival takes place annually during the second week of July in the town of La Tirana, just an hour outside the city of Iquique in Chile's Tarapacá region.
The theme of this year's festival in honor of Our Lady of Carmen de La Tirana is renewal of the promise. La Tirana is prepared to welcome over 220,000 visitors, pilgrims and tourists to the festival sanctuary in the heart of the Pampas del Tamarugal plains. Over 212 groups will participate in the festival's traditional religious dances from the northern Chile region that originated in different areas of Chile, Peru and Bolivia.
Throughout the celebratory ceremony, some of the most traditional types of folkloric dances from pre-Hispanic times will be displayed, including diabladas, tinkus, morenadas and gitanos.
When the clock strikes midnight on July 16, fireworks shoot off and the party reaches its climax of dancing, music and singing to celebrate the Day of the Virgin.
The Tarapacá region offers the perfect landscape for sun-worshippers, next to the best beaches of Iquique, and tourist attractions that include nitrate mines and a duty free shopping zone. For just over $20.000 pesos, visitors can tour the Cerro la Isla Geoglyphs, the Pampa del Tamarugal and the old Nitrate mines of Santa Laura and Humberstone. Visitors will lunch in Matilla, visit wineries and tour the Temple of San Antonia and fruit orchards. Other highlights include the Cocha Resbaladero hot springs in Pica and a sanctuary visit in La Tirana where visitors experience firsthand the activities and preparations surrounding the La Tirana festival. The tour ends in a grove of tamarugo and algarrobo trees where visitors enjoy a snack and have the option to horseback ride along forest trails.
Sunday july 15
22:00: Solemn eucharist on the eve of the festival
Monday july 16
10:00: Lowering of the religious image of our lady of Carmen de la Tirana
10:30 : Solemn eucharistic of the festival day
12:00: Chapel sacraments
15:30: Procession of the religious image through the town streets
20:45: Planned arrival of the procession to la explanada holy rosary
Thursday july 19
19:00: Procession of the blesses sacrament
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