Tereré, a heavenly refreshing drink
My name is Ricardo Núñez. I live in the Republic of Paraguay, located in the heart of South America. I live in a small border town, Nanawa ex Puerto Elsa sharing the Pilcomayo River with the city of Clorinda of the Argentine Republic.
I live in a tropical country, where the temperature normally exceeds 30° and even reaches 45° – a little hot, no? As usual, it is overcome and more with a refreshing Tereré. This drink is practically carried in our blood; it has been a part of my life since I was very young, although I do not remember my first sip, but most likely it was from a very young age, because the people, the family itself, make sure that you are a part of and carry with you this tradition that has prospered for a long time thanks to our natives and that until today is stronger than ever.
Personally, it has been indispensable in my life as in that of many Paraguayans. Every day I practically do the same routine: I wake up early and in the company of my partner, Mariel Núñez, we enjoy a rich mate. As for the mate (a small dimension) compared to the Argentina where it is customary to take it cold or hot, here in Paraguay it is common to drink it at a pleasantly cool temperature, in the morning when the morning rises. Or in winter where at any time it is agreeable to take it. It is then followed by breakfast and that’s how we go into the ritual. There is also a variation in the design of the guampa that differentiates Tereré del Mate (see the photo below)
Unlike tereré, I only started to drink mate (the hot type) about 5 years ago. Normally, children aren’t allowed to drink it until a certain age. Well, the truth is that I inferred that from experiences. The way I see it, mate is for adults and tereré is for everyone, haha.
I’m always well accompanied when I’m start working. Every day, from Monday to Saturday, I take my time to prepare Tereré (essential to start), and then sit at my desk and put my paw to work. Also after lunch, a couple of hours after having eaten, I return to the ritual. And I certainly drink it if I’m working from home!
I am both a graphic designer and illustrator, and much of my time is spent creating graphics and illustrations, so Tereré is a fundamental part since it helps to concentrate and even, at times, meditate;, the herb is perfect for that, hahaha.
A couple of days ago I made an illustration for a contest, and as a theme I chose yerba mate, representing Tereré and Mate.
Bonds of friendship
The nature of the Tereré is to share it, but you can also enjoy it while you are alone, while you are working, or resting, but personally I think that it is more enjoyable to be in the company of others; often it is an excuse for a meeting between neighbors or a chat with friends. It is a bond that unites everyone and makes the meeting pleasant even to share it with a stranger;this happens very often. The tereré becomes an intermediary to meet people, as if that were its mission, and it happens anywhere: on the street when you walk, in the plaza, in an alley, on the bus, wherever – this drink connects people.
The incredible thing is that the people themselves make that possible because the Paraguayan by nature is a warm, friendly, pleasant person to relate to.
Tereré is so ours that even one day was given to celebrate it – it is the last Saturday of February of each year and it is considered an official drink and Cultural Patrimony of Paraguay.
Additionally, there are a variety of customs and secrets that surround tereré. As I said, it’s not a simple refreshing drink. The way to prepare it is very simple: a jug or thermos with water and ice and the yerba in the guampa accompanied by the bombilla, and finally we can complement it with remedio yuyos (medicinal herbs) although that is optional, since each person has their taste. And if we talk about tastes, I can add that today there is a wide variety of flavors of yerba mate. In my opinion, I can not say that it is the best, but the Citrus Yorador flavor is the yerba with which I enjoy my tere every day. Very good!
To be able to enjoy even more of a refreshing Tereré, you must consume some food beforehand, which is called Tereré Rupa (the bed of the tereré) since, according to the belief, taking tereré on an empty stomach could hurt the stomach. Note that it does not refer to a large banquet!, but to a simple snack, for example some delicious empanadas, or a sandwich; that would be enough.
There are many traditions that surround the Tereré, as for example when priming the first tereré, it should not be taken, but offered it to Santo Tomás, who is considered the patron saint of yerba mate.
Another of the customs is that if there are two or more people taking Tereré, the youngest of them is in charge of preparing it for others.
A great transcendence
There is no doubt that the Yerba Mate, especially Tereré, has become popular throughout South America, and has even pierced with pleasing many people beyond it. It is a healthy practice that will last for a long time and hopefully connect more people!