Family Culture Night – Chile

Author: Alyssa Craig

Did you know Chilean Independence Day is coming up on September 18? What better way to celebrate, eat good food, enjoy quality family time, and learn about a different culture than to have a family culture night centered on Chile. Take some time to learn some fun facts about the country, rules of etiquette, and then plan a fun dinner night filled with delicious food and fun games. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

World map with magnified Chile

Fun Facts

When learning about a culture, it is a good idea to know a little bit about the country it comes from. Here are some facts to know about Chile that you can teach your family and guests who come for your cultural night.

Capital: Santiago
Population: Over 17 million as of 2013
Official Language: Spanish
Religion: 89% Roman Catholic (This means many holidays are religiously centered and many of the older generation still celebrate their saint’s day as much as their own birthday.)

Money: Pesos (Fun Fact: One side of each coin has a prominent historical figure. Learn more here.)


Teach your family proper greeting and dining etiquette to implement throughout the night.


The manner in which you greet someone depends on your familiarity with them. For formal greetings with someone you do not know well, men shake hands and women pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder. For more informal greetings with someone you are already comfortable with (such as family members and close friends), hugs and kisses on the cheek are acceptable.

It may also be fun to learn a few Spanish greetings for your culture night. Here are some basics based on the time of day:

buenos dias – good morning
buenas tardes – good afternoon
buenas noches – good evening


  • Wait to be shown to your place when sitting.
  • Women sit before men. Chivalry is not dead.
  • Wait until the hostess invites you to eat before digging into your delicious food.
  • Always use utensils. This is not a time to eat with your hands.
  • Keep wrists at the edge of the table and hands showing at all times. This is when mom’s rule of no elbows on the table definitely applies.
  • Avoid speaking while holding utensils. Set them down before addressing someone or answering a question.
  • It is polite to finish everything on your plate. So make sure you only take as much as you are able and willing to eat.
  • Toast with a “Salud!” but make sure the host makes the first toast!

Chilean cazuela soup served in traditional clay plate


No culture night is complete without sampling the traditional cuisine of the country. As you assemble your menu for the night, be sure to include some of these delicious entrees and desserts.

  • beef empanadas
  • porotos con riendas: spaghetti and beans
  • corn humitas
  • charquican stew
  • Chilean style stuffed potatoes: filled with beef, chili pepper, raisins, cilantro, olives, hard-boiled eggs
  • bistec a lo pobre: beefsteak, french fries, fried onion, topped with some fried eggs
  • prietas: blood sausages
  • cocada: cookies with crunchy coconut on the outside and soft on the inside
  • alfajor pastry
  • arroz con leche: rice pudding


Finally, finish out your night in Chile with some fun activities that are enjoyed by our southern friends. Though the two activities below may not be unfamiliar to you, it may surprise your family that these things are very traditional in other countries, as well as our own.

  • Kite Flying: La volantin as the Chileans call it. Chileans make their own kites from balsa wood and tissue paper. For an activity, you can make your own kite too or simply buy one and go kite flying in your local park.


  • Soccer: This should come as no surprise for any South American country. Soccer is incredibly popular from the pickup games in the street to the professional level. Get your family and friends together to play some soccer in honor of Chile.


Experiencing a new culture does not always have to include hours of travel, expensive tickets, and unfamiliar cities. You can put together a fun culture night at home and get a taste for the way others live and what they enjoy in their day to day lives. In doing so, you open up your own world and make room for new family traditions and fun experiences you won’t soon forget.

Family Flying Kite In Countryside