Sources: El Mostrador and Chile public holidays. A deputy of the Radical Social-Democratic Party, Fernando Meza, has introduced a bill in Chile's legislative assembly that would make June 24, the indigenous Mapuche New Year, a public holiday throughout Chile.
Analysis: This is part of a recent trend throughout South America to celebrate the local indigenous new year, which is usually based on the winter solstice, around June 21 (remember that seasons in South America are the opposite from the northern hemisphere). Peru already has a regional public holiday for Inti Raymi on June 24, and recently a bill was introduced in the Bolivian legislature to replace Corpus Christi public holiday with a public holiday to celebrate Indigenous New Year but it was scuttled by Catholics in the legislature (our news story of June 6). Finally, Venezuela got around the hurdle of either cancelling a public holiday or adding another public holiday, by renaming the October Día de la Raza (Columbus Day) into Día de la Resistencia Indígena.
As the examples of Bolivia and Venezuela show, adding a public holiday is a source of problems with the business community, while replacing an existing public holiday, most of which are Catholic, can cause a backlash from the more conservative elements of society. One very remote (in our opinion) possibility would be to replace the Army Day public holiday (in May) with Mapuche New Year. This holiday comes to mind, as it is less than a month away, and there have already been public statements about its possible cancellation (our news story of March 23).