Drinking yerba mate on a summer morning
For those who are not native to the south of South America, it is very difficult to understand how these people drink mate so hot and bitter in middle of summer. Don´t think that because we are in the extreme south of the continent that it isn’t hot here. During the months of December, January and February, the temperatures easily exceed 35 °C (95 °F), but there is always a moment, many days there are even more than one moment, in which mate is suitable and perfect for the occasion.
Here at home we wake up early, usually with the sun. In fact, we get up almost always before the star breaks the dawn on the horizon. In our case, this horizon is the line where the ocean meets the sky and the fresh morning air is still caressed by the scent and breeze of the sea. I don´t even need to say that it is there, in those early hours, that the first mate of the day is served. The day goes on, the sun rises high in the sky and a very common scene here on the south coast of Santa Catarina is a lot of “gaúchos” and “gaúchas” standing or squatting under the strong summer sun, whether it is roasting on the skin or filtered through the shade of the open umbrellas along the beach.
Drinking yerba mate on a summer afternoon
I, in particular, won´t prep my mate at this time. I prefer to wait for the mid-afternoon shadow in the eastern part of my garden, sheltered from the sun by the shade of the house and cool off with the free breeze from the sea. There it is: my second mate of the day! I am not a lover of tereré, very common in the summer months, which is taken with mate and cold juice. This is another reason to adapt to the heat and to select well the moments of the day to matear. On rainy or windy days, this second mate is usually taken before lunch.
I believe that if we know how to adapt to what life offers us, the days will be lighter, easier and happier. Individual habits, culture and tradition take much longer to change than the seasons, so it is easier to adapt to what the world offers us than waiting for the world to change for us without making any effort. And so it is, for us South Americans of the south end of South America, to matear throughout the summer season. Around here, this place is as hot as any island or town on the Equator line, but the good, bitter mate continues to pass from hand to hand.
The primetime for drinking yerba mate
A primetime is the classic late afternoon, wherever you are. Sun setting in the west and kettle sizzling on the stove. With summer time daylight hours, the days stretch out into the night and, of course, we continue to take our gourd into absolute darkness. Just like early in the morning, dusk, consecrating the end of the day with a mate, offers a more pleasant and absolutely propitious weather temperature to matear. There it is: the third mate of the day!
As I live on the coast, I really like the scenes of mate cycles between family and friends that I see after the sun has moved to the other side of the world, behind the mountains and, for the second time in the day, the colors of the sky begin to vibrate and to color quickly and passively while the gourds are passed with smiles and friendly and affectionate looks all around.
Once again I breathe contentedly, deeply, even though I am not receiving the gourd, but grateful to witness the culture and union of an intercontinental people being shared on a summer evening.