from the southern state of Parana...
after a long day, comes across a small, humble home.
An ancient guarani Indian and his handsome young son
are working outside the home. The good Indian receives
the stranger with affection and hospitality. God, wanting
to reward the ancient, promises to make the young son,
Caa-Yari, immortal. Caa-Yari was then transformed into
the Yerba Mate tree. The Yerba Mate tree has existed
since that time and no matter how much the tree is cut,
the foliage comes back to sprout and flower always more
vigorous and remaining perpetually young. Caa-Yari became
the goddess and protector of the forest and it's inhabitants.
Forest paths became straighter, work less difficult
and the workday shorter.
of the Guarani Indians
traditional Guarani Indian tale tells the story of the
origins of the Guarani in the forests of southern Paraguay.
According to tale, the ancestors of the Guarani at some
time in the forgotten past navigated a vast ocean from
a distant land to settle in the area we now know as
Paraguay. These travelers found the land both breathtaking
yet full of dangers. It was only after diligence and
struggle that they settled the land and bring into being
a new civilization.
Guarani people tended to the land and became exceptional
craftsmen. As they worked, they looked forward to the
arrival of the tall, fair-skinned, blue eyed, bearded
God Pa'i Shume who, according to the traditional tales,
came down from the skies and expressed his pleasure
with all the Guarani had accomplished. Pa'i Shume brought
sacred knowledge and taught to them agricultural methods
to benefit them during times of drought and pestilence
as well as on a daily basis. Most importantly, He unlocked
the mysteries of health and medicine and revealed the
beneficial and medicinal qualities of the local flora.
The most important of these teachings was the knowledge
of how to harvest and prepare the tea made from the
leaves of the Yerba Mate tree. The Mate tea was meant
to ensure health, vitality and long life.
the Guarani would clear part of the wooded area, plant
manioc and corn and harvest their crops. After four
or five years the soil would be worn out and not produce
the same harvests. The tribe would have to move on.
After years of following this pattern, an ancient member
of the Guarani tribe refused to go on and decided to
remain where he was. The youngest of his daughters,
a beauty by the name of Jary, was then place in the
most difficult of positions. Should she move on with
the tribe to their new territory or should she stay
with her father until death gave him final peace. Despite
the entreaties of the tribe, she fulfilled her familial
duty and stayed with her father. Her father the ancient
grew weaker and weaker.
display of devotion and love could not go unrewarded.
One day, a mysterious shaman arrived at the home and
asked Jary what she wanted in order to feel happy. Jary
did not say a thing but her father asked "I want
new strength to go on and take Jary to the tribe that
shaman gave the ancient father the greenest of plants,
imbued with kindness, and told him to plant it, pick
the leaves, dry them by the fire, grind them, put the
pieces in a gourd, add water and sip the brew. "In
this new beverage, you will find healthy company, even
in the sad hours of the cruelest solitude." The
shaman went away.
was the genesis of the "caá-mini,"
which is the source of the caá-y infusion that
later immigrants would adopt under the name of Chimarrão
in Brazil and Yerba Mate in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
the green brew, the ancient recovered, acquire new potency
and vigor, and was able to follow the path of the long
departed Guarani. After a long journey, the ancient
and his daughter Jary were reunited with their tribe
and received with the utmost celebration. Upon hearing
of the shaman and his gift, the whole Guarani tribe
adopted the habit of drinking the green (yerba mate)
herb, both bitter and sweet, that gave them strength,
courage and comfort.
is how Yerba Mate became the most universal sacred ingredient,
the "Drink Of The Gods," in the home of the
Guarani and it remains so to this day.