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Collaborations Culture Focus International Voices

All About Paraguay

Gonzalo Salomon September 8, 2019

In June 2019, Temple University’s Center for Language and Culture welcomed high school students from across the world to participate in EducationUSA Academy, a State Department program to help international students learn about American culture and how to apply for American universities. During their stay, Freely Magazine held an essay contest asking students to reflect on cross-cultural experiences and their own culture. Thank you to honorable mention Gonzalo Salomon for sharing his story.

Paraguay is a small country in South America and has around seven million inhabitants. Although it is very small, it has a lot of cultural aspects like in a big country.

All of these aspects of my country makes me feel proud because it has created a lot of history and this history makes Paraguay what it is.

Tereré drink. Photo credit: 196 Flavors

For food, Paraguay has its own distinct cuisine. Our ancestors, the “Guarani” created the cuisine, making it different from other cultures. Even though it is from long ago, this traditional food has stayed stronger than ever. Traditional foods are usually prepared in the middle of the year, near our largest festival of Paraguayan culture. Many families come together to share dishes.Some examples of the most traditional food in my country are: Bori Bori, Chipa, Mbeyu, and Chipa Guazú.

There are traditional drinks too. The most famous drink in my country is “Terere” and is composed of yerba mate, yuyos and water with ice. Everyone in Paraguay loves terere and it can be drunk at any time of day and in any weather. The other famous typical drink in my country is “cocido,” or yerba mate mixed with sugar, heated over a lighted coal. Cocido is only prepared for breakfast or a snack though. The food and drinks of my country are a great source of pride.

Another important part of my culture is the traditional festival of  San Juan celebrating the birth of San Juan Bautista. It is typically celebrated on June 24. It is the biggest traditional festival of the year and is celebrated with food, games and dance.

My cross-cultural experiences at Temple University through EduUSA have made me more proud of my country because I have had the opportunity to share my culture with other people of different cultures. Through this, I have seen how the culture of my country is distinct from other cultures. Read on below for more about Paraguay!

Food

Traditional Bori bori. Photo credit: Taste Atlas

Bori Bori: A thick broth in which are arranged small balls of cornmeal and cheese.

Chipa: A baked good made with cassava, Paraguayan cheese, anise, and other ingredients.  It comes from the cuisine of Guaraní-Spanish Jesuit origin, and is traditional for the cuisine of Paraguay.

Mbeyú: cassava starch tortilla and fresh cheese.

Chipa Guazú: Traditional baked corn cake

Traditional Drink

Also, Paraguay has a lot of traditional Drink, but the most popular and important are:

Tereré: Tereré is the most popular drink in my country that all paraguayan love. This drink is composed of yerba mate, yuyos or pohã ñana and water with ice.

Cocido: It is made with yerba mate together with the sugar, with a lighted coal.

Traditional Dance

In paraguay the traditional dance are very important for all Paraguay. There are many traditional dance in my country. But the most important are:

Galopera: The gallop is a Paraguayan folk dance without fixed choreography. It is all improvised. The galopera are peasants called raida poty or mitacuñas (in guaraní, a clean woman) who carry water in pitchers; they, generally, dance with the pitchers above the head. To dance it, they wear the typói jegúa (blouse), a skirt, the kygua will see (traditional earrings), combs with incrustations of precious stones, gold or silver rosary, a coral necklace and filigree. Her hairstyle consists of two loose braids, with a bow at the ends decorated with flowers.

Mazurca: It is a dance with rhythm that comes from Europe and that, with the passage of time, acquired its own characteristics in Paraguay. It receives the name of Mazurca criolla. This dance has three beats per measure like a waltz.

Traditional outfit

For men: white shirt, black pants, shoe black, black handkerchief

For women: dress of different colors, necklaces, hoops, bare feet