Paraguay Culture and Traditions
Customs and traditions
Almost all residents identify as “Paraguayans”, although they may also have other cultural identities. For example, they may belong to the indigenous peoples, be German-speaking Mennonites, or have the brunt of Brazilian immigrants (brasiguayos). The most important expression of national identity is the language guaraní, as almost all Paraguayans speak.
The use of guaraní stands over various social classes and political camps. The wars that Paraguay has fought in history against other countries – the Triple Alliance Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in 1865 and Bolivia in the Chaco War 1932-1935 – also bind the Paraguayans together (see Older history). Memorials of important kinds are important national holidays.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Paraguay, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Although the move into cities is rapid, more than one in three people still live in rural areas, where the majority live on smaller farms or are employed in slightly larger export farms. The earth is very evenly distributed; a small proportion of the farmers own most of the land, while most farmers have farms on only a few hectares (see further Agriculture and Fisheries). Rural women work with everything from cultivating the soil and grinding the important corn flour to sewing and making clothes and taking care of the children. They trade the food and fetch water. It is not uncommon for women to also have a side job to contribute to the family’s livelihood. It may be to sew on order, make cigars or run a small shop.
Know and label
In the middle and upper classes, one is greeted by a kiss on both cheeks. Even women and men who do not know each other greet with double cheek kiss. In formal contexts, men greet each other through a handshake. The same rules apply when saying goodbye.
In the cities most people dress in western fashion. In the countryside, it is common for women to wear a kind of shawl (rebozo) and a simple dress or skirt and blouse. The men dress in loose-fitting pants (bomachas), shirt or jacket, scarf and poncho.
Eating habits and meals
The traditional diet consists mainly of corn, beans and cassava (a root cause, also called manioc or yuca). Cassava is often eaten cooked, but the roots are also ground into flour for bread baking. In richer families, a lot of grilled meat (parrillada) is also eaten. Typical Paraguayan dishes are locro (corn stew), sopa paraguaya (a cornbread / pie with onion and cheese), chipa guazú (an intermediate between sopa paraguaya and a corn suffle) and mbaipy so’ó (corn pudding with beef pieces).
The breakfast is usually light and fast. It may consist of some cornbread and tea. The main meal of the day is usually consumed in the middle of the day, while a lighter evening meal is eaten around 18:00. The main raw material is cassava or corn. A common dish is porridge made from dried beans, peas and peanuts. A variety of fruits are also common. The most popular beverage is Paraguayan tea (yerba mate), which is served both cold (tereré) and hot (cocido), often seasoned with beneficial herbs.
According to Abbreviationfinder, Paraguayans often meet over a cup of yerba mate or a simple meal. At special family gatherings and parties, guests are usually offered an asado (barbecue party), where beef (sometimes pig) is grilled over an open fire. Classic accessories are cassava and sop paraguaya. Asado is also organized at Christmas and Easter. The Christmas table consists of duck, lamb, chicken and turkey. For that, beer and cider are served. Caña is an alcoholic beverage made from sugar cane.
Holidays and national holidays
The usual Catholic holidays like Christmas and Easter are celebrated by a large majority of the population. Halloween Day is celebrated on November 1 with family and relatives gathering in cemeteries and decorating the graves of dead relatives. On December 8, Virgin Mary’s purity is celebrated with the Festividad de la Inmaculada Concepción (The Immaculate Virgin Birth). Then a pilgrimage to the basilica is carried out in the Caacupé pilgrimage.
According to Countryaah, San Juan Day (San Juan Ara / Día de San Juan) is celebrated on June 24 with traditional games, including glowing coal. On August 1, the guaraní tradition says to drink carrulim, which is a beverage consisting of caña, ruda (a medicinal plant) and lemon. These ingredients should be health-enhancing, bring happiness and drive away evil. This day special vendors go around and offer bottle carrulim.
Non-religious holidays are New Year’s Day (January 1), Ban Blas (celebration of the nation’s patron saint, February 3), Heroes ‘Day (March 3), Workers’ Day (May 1), Independence Day (May 14), Chaco Peace (June 12), founding Asunción (August 15), Constitution Day (August 25), Victory at the Battle of Boquerón (in the Chaco War, September 29) and the anniversary of the discovery of America (October 12).