Gaucho Culture

Argentina, a country of beauty and drama, is renowned for its delicious beef, rich wines, tango … and its folk hero – the gaucho.

Originally a nomadic horseman and cowhand of the Argentine Pampas, hundreds of years of history, legends and ballads have helped define the cultural traditions of gauchos imbedding their influence deeply into Argentine cultural tradition. Because the gaucho played a major role in the county’s independence from Spain, he is respected as a symbol representing the nationalist feelings of Argentina.

Gauchos were and remain proud and skilled horsemen. Typically, a gaucho's horse constituted most of what he owned in the world. Annual fiestas across Argentina usually include demonstrations of Gaucho horsemanship.

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Gaucho Cuisine

The gaucho diet was composed almost entirely of beef while on the range, supplemented by yerba mate, a tea made from the leaves of the yerba tree. Whether it is an asado on a parilla, roast meat and vegetables in an horno, or a disco stew simmering over a simple fire in the campo, gauchos are renowned for their skill cooking with fire.

Gaucho attire & tools

Gauchos often dress in a manner distinct to their region. A typical gaucho outfit includes a poncho, which is also used as a saddle blanket and for sleeping, a large knife tucked into the back of a wide leather when not in use, and loose-fitting trousers called bombachas. Footwear varies, but most commonly consists of cloth alpagartas or tall leather boots. Historically, the knife was typically the only eating instrument that a gaucho carried. In addition to the familiar lariat line used to lasso livestock, gauchos use bolas or boleadoras: three leather bound rocks tied together with long leather straps. Bolas were thrown at the legs of an animal to entwine and immobilize it.

Music

Chamamé is the folk music of gauchos from the northeast regions of Argentina. Originating with the Guaraní in and around the Ibera wetlands, Chamamé has been influenced by Spanish guitar and German polka to provide a distinct sound that continues to thrive. Now widely played throughout Argentina, the largest Chamamé music festival is held in the city of Corrientes.

Ponchos

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Ponchos

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