Inauguration of first Religious Dances Museum in María Elena
The doors of the museum have opened, showcasing the clothing of yesteryear and today used in traditional dances performed in the towns of Pedro de Valdivia and María Elena. The building was inaugurated to kick off the La Tirana Chica festival, which attracts parishioners from the pampas and other parts of the country. The museum is free of charge and open to everyone in the region.
This weekend La Tirana Chica de María Elena brought together hundreds of parishioners to worship the Virgen del Carmen in this traditional religious festival that takes place in the pampa calichera. Event-goers were also able to visit the region’s first, recently inaugurated Religious Dances Museum, where the history of the pampa dances will be preserved and disseminated by exhibiting the various costumes from the golden days of the nitrates industry.
At the inauguration, its creator, cultural specialist Carlos Hidalgo, highlighted: “Five years ago I started working on this museum and thanks to SQM I was able to make my dream come true, to showcase the religious dances that are part of our identity as a community.
The ceremony included an overture by the group “Tusuy Pacha”, made up of students from the Technical Professional High School in María Elena, who delighted the guests with a caporal dance. It was attended by local authorities, the local community, partner companies and representatives of various cultural entities in the area.
Eduardo Ahumada, interim Mayor of María Elena, commented: “This project is like a synthesis of La Tirana Chica, because many people come to participate without understanding what it is about, and this will allow us to reinforce that idea, to teach about the different brotherhoods and the religious dances of the pampa.”
For her part, SQM’s head of Pampa Community Affairs, Leonor González, said, “Here we are, celebrating the first day of La Tirana Chica in the pampa with this inauguration, and SQM is very proud to be part of this dream. This is the sixth consecutive year that we have provided support for the religious dances at different events, in order to revive, strengthen and spotlight the Pampa culture expressed through its popular religious customs.”
Meanwhile, Alejandro Rodríguez, president of the Religious Dance Association of the Pedro de Valdivia Nitrates Office, affirmed, “The religious dance groups are made up of families, therefore, SQM’s support has been very important because it has provided us with the means by which to live out our faith and devotion to the La Tirana sanctuary. It also helps initiatives such as the one inaugurated today become part of this support structure.”
SQM’s efforts are part of its current sustainability plan, which seeks to protect and enhance the heritage of the community of María Elena through initiatives co-created with the community. The museum will also be added to the existing heritage tourism route that has strengthened María Elena as a tourist attraction. Other noteworthy historical sites in the town include the civic center, the San Rafael church, the Metro theater, the Pampino Toy Museum, the Coya Spa and the town square, among others.