Mil Tambores Carnival in Valparaiso

Carnival Mil Tambores in Valparaiso, Chile

Carnaval Mil Tambores, which literally means “Carnival of one thousand drums” is celebrated in Valparaiso, Chile in order to promote the culture and art of the city. Mil Tambores first began in 1999 as a protest in defense of its public places, such as its beaches, plazas, and areas where big corporations wanted to develop. Now it continues as a way to defend its culture, but is also a time of celebration, happiness, and for people to enjoy their rights as free citizens of Valparaiso. Although it originated as a city function, it now attracts people from all over Chile and other countries.

This year, Mil Tambores was held October 5th and 6th. The second day is the main event when different organizations from Valparaiso and other cities in Chile have a parade, forming ensembles of dancers, jugglers, and most commonly, batucadas, playing samba-style music with the drums, repiniques, bells, reco-recos, and other instruments. Mil Tambores is also known for the brightly-colored painted bodies, which represent their liberty and artistic culture. This year they advertised for people to go wearing red shirts and taking trash bags in order to clean up the trash at Playa San Mateo, Plaza Ruben Dario and Playa Torpederas, promoting care for the environment. It was so much fun listening to the different groups and joining in on their dancing, and especially to see them so happy.

Mil Tambores is definitely a cultural experience that one should take the advantage to see if one has the opportunity to do so. It is a welcoming event for people of all ages; however, although the intent is to keep it a drug and alcohol-free event, the later it gets, the more you will see people drinking alcohol and smoking.

Here are pictures from my experience.

Manzopiña group playing the drums

Me in the green jacket surrounded by clowns with a sign that says "No more buildings on the hills"

Kids also participated in the parade

girl with flags

Dancing girls with body paint

Parading for indigenious peoples' rights

Boy from the Sambiago group playing the surdo