Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy New Year

To celebrate the 2013 winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, during June 21 to 24, the Huilliche (southern Mapuche) community of Chiloé will celebrate Wetripantu or Wechipantu (“New Sunrise” in the Mapudungun language), the Mapuche new year. The community has planned a series of activities over several days, visiting schools, organizing tree plantings, and presenting ceremonies in various locations on the big island of Chiloé and some neighboring islands in the archipelago, comprising an area of about 3,500 square miles.

Chile is a long and narrow country that hugs the impressive Andes mountain chain that marks the border with Argentina in the southern cone of South America. The map above indicates the island of Chiloé, separated from the mainland by a 20-minute ferry ride on the northern tip of the island.
Out of about 17 million inhabitants of Chile, about one million are Mapundungan speakers, members of the Mapuche ethnic group. The southern Mapuche refer to themselves as Huilliche (or Huiliche or Veliche). Fewer than 200,000 people live on Chiloé.

The Mapuche flag 

In March 1991, the Chilean Mapuche organization Aukiñ Wallmapu Ngulam ("Council of All Lands")  made a call to submit designs for a flag of the Mapuche nation. About 500 designs were submitted, of which a one was selected for the Mapuche nation. The flag is called Wenufoye (“The Heaven's Cinnamon” in the Mapudungun language). 
The yellow disk is a symbol for the sun, representing renewal. It also represents the cultrun, or cermonial drum. 
Blue (kallfü) represents life, order, wealth and the universe. In Mapudungun, is also an adjective that could be translated as "sacred" or "spiritual".
White (lüq): the cleansing, healing and longevity symbol of wisdom and prosperity
Red (kelü): strength and power, symbol of history.
Green (karü): the earth or nature, wisdom, fertility and healing power, symbol of the machi (Mapuche shaman).