Paraguay is one of the South American countries with a great world reference, not only for its extensive Fauna and exotic flora, but also for being one of the regions that has a wide range of musical exponents, invaluable cultural, ancient and traditional, natural and that even serves as a symbol of identification of that country, framed within the Legends of Paraguay.
Legends of Paraguay
The legends of Paraguay are great stories that are part of Paraguayan mythology, or as some also know them, Guarani mythology, due to its roots and ancestral origins. These legends of Paraguay, have a marked difference with respect to other myths of other peoples and regions, and that is that in general, they are not stories with the intervention of mystical or omnipotent beings.
On the contrary, they consist of a series of chronicles carried out by typical, common and current characters, with whom people can even identify themselves and therefore the feats described in them, manage to touch the heart of those who read them.
But, despite this difference, they also have a point in common with the myths and legends of other regions, and that is that they all emerged during the times of Spanish colonization in South American lands, where Spanish culture merged with the native indigenous.
Therefore, we can say then that Paraguay has a large number of legends and myths that enrich the folklore of that country. It is about experiential experiences, beliefs and cults, which are part of the art and imagination of the inhabitants of the region. To learn about other legends and myths from other countries, we invite you to read Myths of Honduras
The main theme of the legends of Paraguay, manifests the literary beauty of its peoples, whose creation responds to the fact of being able to provide arguments that serve as an explanation for facts that are difficult to understand.
As has already been said, the legends of Paraguay, for the most part, are based on the indigenous culture of the Guaraní tribe, containing incredible stories, rare and ugly animals, and people on whom species of spells and curses weigh.
Despite the surprising ingredient with which these stories tell to capture the viewer's attention, they are stories that adapt to everyday life and are therefore accepted by the reading public. These legends that appear simply as Guarani myths, are part of the culture of the nation.
They are the reflection of the result of the union of Americans and Europeans in the times of exploration of original territories. Among the most popular legends of Paraguay are: the legend of Yerba Mate, the legend of karauplatforms, Ñanduti, Tupi and Guarani, legend of the Virgin of caacupe and others.
The myth of Jasy Jateré
Among the main legends of Paraguay, the history of the Jasy Jatere, is one of the ones that stands out, this being a kind of fable that describes a creature, very similar to a gnome, who lived freely roaming the forest. Jasy Jatere It is an indigenous name and in Spanish, the term means "fragment of the moon".
There are those who claim to have seen this creature, prowling and touring the fields and crops, stalking the crops in rural areas, taking advantage of the moments when the owners are taking a siesta.
The physical description of this elf is very similar to that of other elves, but with blue eyes and yellow hair, and also, it is said that he walks from here to there without any clothes. One of the elements that stands out among his characteristics is that he is always seen carrying a small golden rod or cane.
This Legend of Paraguay prays, who uses said rod to attract his possible victims to him and make them lose their will over themselves. When the pixie realizes that the captured person is in good health, he takes him to his fraternal Ao, devouring him immediately.
One of the qualities that it has Jasy Jatere is that it can imitate the chirping of birds, which is why it is believed that it is for this reason that some know it by the nickname of Cupid guarani. There are several stories about these legends of Paraguay where it is noted that Jasy Jatere he loves to play with children.
It is alleged that on his tours, he first walks through the houses of the town, observing if a child is taking a siesta, and then invites him to eat some fruit with honey. It is said that he spends a long time playing with the children, until he sees that the sun begins to hide, indicating that it is time to return to his home, the forest, without harming the child.
From so many sweets and fruits that they share, that when they get home, the children are no longer hungry. Tradition establishes that this is the reason why Paraguayan mothers do not let their children go out during siesta time, as they may encounter the Jasy Jatere.
The myth of Luison
According to what is known of the Leyendas del Paraguay called Luison, this creature is considered the god of Death, in the depths of tradition guarani. He says that this title was attributed to him in view of the fact that, in different stories referring to his history, he appears as a lurker in cemeteries.
It narrates and describes a Luison who steals on the outskirts of cemeteries, having a preference for the human remains of people who lie in their graves, and whose lifeless bodies are devoured by this mythological creature.
Another of the interesting aspects that turn around this character is that he has specific days where he transforms from a human being to a mysterious dog, with large fangs, dark fur and distilling nauseating odors.
These days are Tuesday and Friday of each week. The rest of the days, that is, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, he becomes a person again, but the image he adopts is that of a scruffy, dirty and afflicted man.
In other stories, they say that the myth of Luison contains a curse that is linked to couples who have several children and that when they reach the seventh, families run the risk that it is the reincarnation of the Luison. It should be noted that this Legend of Paraguay also has a version recorded in the native language Guarani.
Legends Short from Paraguay
As we have said before, Paraguay has a wide range of myths and legends that make its folklore one of the richest among the countries of South America. Legends have existed since the creation of primitive civilizations, with the purpose of being able to explain the occurrence of some phenomenon, situation or facts, about which there are no rational answers.
These legends of Paraguay arise as a result of the coupling that exists between traditions, beliefs and Creole customs - guarani. Its oral diffusion through the legends and myths of the region, one of the best ways to keep them current, passing from generation to generation.
It is worth mentioning that although the myths and legends were born at first as a form of oral expression, now they are a fundamental part of the national identity of Paraguay. And just as there are legends whose stories are long, there are also short ones like these cases that we present to you in this section.
Here you can see three popular and well-known stories within the Guaraní culture, but if you are interested in knowing more about the traditions and folklore of other regions, you can read Ecuadorian Legends
The Legend of Yerba Mate
The Legend of Yerba Mate is one of the best known myths of Paraguay. It begins with the narration of the story of a beautiful young woman named Kaa, who lived in the vicinity of the Misiones jungle.
They say that this girl was very noble and beautiful, and that she dedicated herself to caring for her old father with great affection, since he was already old, blind and very tired. They say the father of Kaa, He was an Indian who did not want to continue with the nomadic tribe to which he belonged, due to his blindness.
That old Indian commented that he no longer had the necessary strength to change houses or walk the roads, but that his wish was that his daughter, who was young, would not suffer from loneliness and that she could share with other people her age.
However, Ka'a He refused to abandon his father, reaffirming that he would always be by his side, accompanying him. I will be your daughter and son too, and I will learn to fish and hunt like a man. The young woman fulfilled her promise, and day by day, she was attentive and affectionate with her father.
Ka'a He learned the tasks of fishing, hunting, and also to collect fruits in the jungle where he lived with his father. However, her father was not resigned to her daughter being left alone, and grateful for everything she did for him, he prayed to his god Tupan, to reward the young woman for her many attentions.
They say that one day, at the door of the house, a man appeared who looked like a pilgrim, who turned out to be the man himself. Tupan. The young woman, noticing his presence, received him pleasantly, and even went hunting to later cook him an exquisite acutí After dinner, he made her a comfortable bed.
The next day, the pilgrim prepared to continue on his way, but not before offering to reward Ka'a for all your attention. That man told the young woman that he would make a new plant sprout, and it would bear her name, “from now on you will be known as the immortal Ka'ajarýi, which means the fairy of the woods.
Finishing pronouncing those words, the god gave birth to the yerba mate plant, with beautiful flowers and aroma, but also containing refreshing and therapeutic virtues, which became very popular and known by all who consume it.
The legend of Karau
According to the legends of Paraguay Karau, this tells the story of a certain young man whose mother was very ill one night, so he went out to the street to get some medicine. But, when he was on the road to buy the remedies, he found out that some of his friends were celebrating at a party.
The young man gave in to temptation, and stayed at that party, completely forgetting why he had gone out. He stayed dancing all night in the company of one of the prettiest girls who were at that meeting. Every once in a while he repeated that he was only going to stay for a moment, but time passed him by.
Thus the hour of midnight was approaching, and when the celebration and the celebration began to increase, a friend of his approached him asking him to stop dancing, because he brought him very bad news, since it was that his mother had died.
The young man did not give any importance to the news that his friend was giving him, and on the contrary, he asked the people at the party to continue playing the music, and he continued dancing, claiming to the friend that if his mother had died , because he was still alive and that there would be time to cry afterwards.
Late in the morning, that young man asked the girl with whom he was dancing where her house was to accompany her, to which she replied, that her house was very far, but that he could go and visit her, the days when he must miss to his dead mother.
The young man upon hearing those words realized how badly he had done, and repented, leaving that place terrified, crying, bitter and disconsolate, repeating that his mother had already died.
Since that day, the young man has been wandering aimlessly, strolling through the estuaries and always wearing mourning. Because he was a bad son, the god Tupan he punished him by turning him into a black bird, condemning him to go crying on the banks of rivers and streams, with a sad and funeral song.
This legends of Paraguay tells the story about the existence of a beautiful woman named Samimbi, for whom two brave Guarani warriors disputed his love. One of these men was called yasyñemonare, who was the son of the moon; and the other young man, his name was Ñanduguazú who is the protagonist of our legend, Ñandúti.
It is said that the young yasyñemonare, was one night pleading with the god Tupan, to help him conquer the love of Samimbi. When he raised his eyes to the horizon, he noticed that the top of a huge tree was a kind of silver lace.
That lace was very beautiful, and besides, with the brightness of the moonlight, it looked even more beautiful. That image ended up dazzling yasyñemonare, who, driven by it, was motivated to climb the tree to reach the lace and give it to his beloved samimbi.
Ñanduguazú He was also passing by the place, and at the same time, witnessing that scene where his enemy would get to obtain that beautiful lace, which he had also seen, which made him furious with jealousy. To prevent him from reaching him and without thinking, he shot an arrow at him, with which he made yasyñemonare He fell from the tree and died on the spot.
Ignoring the fact that he had killed a man, Ñanduguazú He climbed to the top of the tree quickly to take the lace, but when he wanted to do it, it broke instantly, leaving only part of the fabric of what was nothing more than a spider web between his fingers.
For several months, remorse plagued Ñanduguazú, because of the atrocity he had committed, until one day, he confessed to his mother how terrible he had done. At that time, his mother asked Ñanduguazú to take her to the tree, and so she did. Arriving at the site, both contemplated with great astonishment, that another lace identical to the previous one was found in the same place on the top of the tree.
Since the death of Yasyñemoñare, Ñanduguazú he had been very afflicted, wandering aimlessly throughout the jungle in search of comfort. To give it to him, his mother wanted to give him a fabric just like the one she posed on the tree, for which she began to observe how the spiders designed the fabric.
It was then that the woman took her knitting needles and began to imitate the way those spiders made circles and straight lines, using the strands of her already white hair instead of thread, reproducing in the end that delicate and unique weave. And to close we invite you to read about other indigenous legends such as the theme of Mayan Legends