June Solstice

Today is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the southern hemisphere. In few days is also the Mapuche new year.

The Mapuche are the indigenous people of Southern Chile and Argentina, who  fought off the Spanish and Germans for hundreds of years. They keep their traditions and culture alive in modern Chile, and living here in the Los Rios region has brought me closer to their community. The New Year, or We-tripantu, is their biggest celebration. It’s a time of new beginnings. A new season.

Today, my friend Maribel gave me this new year’s gift. A fellow teacher at her school hand-made it from a small orange. It still smells like citrus. Tomorrow I’m traveling with her and some friends to the region above us where most of the country’s Mapuche people live. Until Sunday!

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