Learn Spanish and discover Hispanic Culture

#4 Guarani Leyends

Today we come back to immerse ourselves into the Hispanic culture because our Spanish school in Bilbao doesn’t leave the cultural ties with the lands on the other side of the Atlantic. This time the theme will address some of the most famous Guarani legends.

The Guarani are a group of indigenous people who are located in Paraguay, northeastern Argentina, southern and southwestern Brazil and southeastern Bolivia. The Guarani speak language variants of the Tupi-Guarani family and are currently classified into three groups: the Guarani-Kaiowa, the Guarani-Mbya and the Guarani-Ñandeva. Within the wide and rich variety of Guarani legends, we will highlight the one of the Virgin of Ka’akupe and the one of Lake Ypakarai.

The first legend is about the young Indian Joseph, whose name was given by the missionaries after being baptized, who left the mission in search of wood and went into the dense forest. After collecting all the necessary he strayed off the road and had to hide the wood to start looking for the way back. After many hours of searching he did not even know where he left the woods he was going to use to do his job of carving. In the mission he’s considered an artist and he is happy there, where he works, learns things and honors God. Joseph suddenly hears voices and starts running through the trees. He is pursued by a group of Mbya warriors, the tribe who fights the missionaries and rejects evangelization.

About to faint, Joseph stops behind a tree and begins to pray to the Virgin making her a promise: “If I get out of this alive, I promise you I will carve a beautiful picture in the wood of the same tree that now protects me.”

The Mbya warriors lie in wait for him and when they pass along the hollow of the tree where Joseph is hiding, they do not see him, even though they perceive his presence. After, they continue their journey losing track of Joseph the Indian. After the relief and thanking the Virgin for her protection, Joseph tore a piece of the trunk and returned to the mission. Immediately the young man began to fulfill his promise to the Virgin and began to carve her image, ending a few weeks later. He made two sizes: the one for public veneration can be seen today on the altar of the church of Tóbari while the other one, smaller and for personal worship, is nowadays visited by millions of devotees at the Basilica of Caacupé.

Joseph-the- Indian-carving-the-images-of-the-Virgin The-young-offering-the-image-to-the-missionaries  The second legends tells how the Guarani Indian Tume Arandu, knowing the arrival of the karaiete (European conquerors) and fearing these people coming from overseas, makes a prayer to Tupá (supreme god of the Guarani, creator of the light and of the universe). He asks him to make disappear the beautiful and sacred city of Mbaeveraguasu and all his people when the karaiete make their appearance. The Tupá God, listening to the prayers of his son, moves to the future, just at the moment when the conquerors land on the American shores. Suddenly he moved to the city of Mbaeveraguasu where the people see how Tupa’s force makes the water rise and floods the city. The people start to drown and nobody seems to be saved. Two days later the wonderful city is submerged underwater and few people have managed to escape. When the waters are about to reach the top of the hills a monk who was just arrived to evangelize, approaches the wild waters blessing them, and the waters immediately get calmer. The missionary baptized the place with the name of Ypakarai, and that’s how the origin of the legend of the aforenamed lake begins.



Lake Ypacaraí is located between the departments of Cordillera and Central, about 50 km away from Paraguay’s capital, Asunción.


Here at LINCE Spanish School we hope you enjoyed this cultural lesson because learning Spanish it’s always going further. See you on the next adventure!

S. G

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