Fiesta de La Tirana

Fiesta de La Tirana is a festival in the town of La Tirana located in the Tarapacá Region of northern Chile. It is held from the 12th to 16th of July. It is honouring Our Lady of Mount Carmel (in Spanish Virgen del Carmen). Over 200,000 people attend the festival. 207 religious brotherhoods participate in the festival too. Many participants are wearing colourful clothes. There is a platform with the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Fiesta de La Tirana
Fiesta de La Tirana

There are also masked dancers performing the dance called Diablada or "Danza de los Diablos" (in English Dance of the Devils). It was brought to Chile by Bolivian saltpeter miners. The dance is performed by squads that are family based or include members of some dance society.

There is a story about the origin of this festival. In 1540 the expedition led by Diego de Almagro (known as the discoverer of Chile) arrived to the area. There they met the Incaican princess Huillac Humu. Due to her attitude towards Spaniards she was known as La Tirana (The Tyrant). But, then one day she fell in love with one of her Spanish captives. His name was Almeyda. She wanted to get married and even become a Christian. Her community did not like her wish. Local people decided to kill the princess and her lover.

Around 1650 Antonio Rondón bulit a hermitage next to her grave. In the 18th century a church was built and a little town was created. Nowadays in front of the church there is the Museum of La Tirana (in Spanish Museo de La Tirana). The museum was found by Andrés “Cacique” Farías.