Easter Island Flag

Easter Island Travel Guide

Public Holidays

Public holidays in Chile include:

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Easter Friday (March or April)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • Battle of Iquique Day (May 21)
  • Corpus Christi (June)
  • Saints Peter and Paul Day (June 29)
  • Ascension Day (August 15)
  • Independence Day (September 18)
  • Army Day (September 19)
  • Columbus Day (October 12)
  • All Saints' Day (November 1)
  • Conception Day (December 8)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
Birdman Carving

Cult of the Birdman

A stone carving of a birdman holding the first egg of the sooty tern in his hand. The winner of the annual race to Motu Nui became birdman, a being with supernatural powers, until his death and transformation into a spirit just prior to the following year's race.

Festivals

In late January or February is the carnival-like Tapati Rapa Nui festival, with traditional dancing, sporting events, canoe races, a horse race, fishing tournament, handicraft and agricultural exhibitions, statue-carving contest, shell-necklace-stringing competition, body-painting contest, kai-kai (string figure) performances, mock battles, feasts, and the election of Queen Tapati Rapa Nui (who is dramatically crowned on a spotlit Ahu Tahai).

A unique triathlon at Rano Raraku involves male contestants in body paint who paddle tiny reed craft across the lake, pick up bunches of bananas on poles and run around the crater and up the hill, where they grab big bundles of nga'ata reeds to carry down and around the lake before a final swim across. There's also haka pei, which involves young men sliding down a grassy mountainside on banana-trunk sleds at great speed. Colored lights are strung up along the main street. Needless to say, all flights immediately before and after the festival are fully booked far in advance.

The Tokerau Singing Festival is in July. Chilean Independence Day (September 18) is celebrated with parades and a fonda (carnival). Everyone takes three days off for this big fiesta. On the day of their patron saint, the main families stage a traditional feast (curanto), complete with an earth oven (umu ta'o).