One of the oldest traditions in Chile, is the Fiesta de Cuasimodo. It began in Italy in the 14th Century and the custom was brought to Chile where it is still celebrated today.
One of the places where you can see it is in Lo Barnechea in Santiago on the first Sunday after Easter. (During COVID it has been suspended, but mark the first Sunday after Easter on your calendar to enjoy this event in future years. It is one of our favourites!)
The celebration in Lo Barnechea begins at Santa Rosa church at 8:30 a.m. and usually has about 700 cuasimodistas (as they are called) on horseback, about another 300 on bicycles or motorcycles and an additional 100 pedestrians.
The priest rides in a horse and buggy and administers communion to about 40 infirm and sick people at home in their houses. The cuasimodistas follow him through the streets shouting “Hallelujah Christ Lives! He is King!” in Spanish as the crowd surges through the old streets of Lo Barnechea. It ends with a mass at the Medialuna (rodeo ring) on Camino Medialuna.
The bikes and horses are decorated in yellow and white and the cuasimodistas wear white kerchiefs to symbolize purity. An houses are also decorated in the same way.
The name Cuasimodo comes from the latin, “Quasi modo geniti infantes…” which means “as newborn babies” and the image of being reborn again as new people.
It is always the first Sunday after Easter, get there around 8:30 a.m. We usually park along the road Lo Barnechea by the El Rodeo end and then we walk to El Gabino and wait until we hear the horses. Then we just follow the crowd along on the sidewalk which usually goes down El Gabino to Ruben Barrales and then loops back up and around.