folclore

(…) Yo era indiferente ante todo eso, el día 13 de julio de 1954, fue el día más trágico de mi vida, había perdido para siempre a mi amada Frida.

                                                                                        -DIEGO RIVERA

the careto is a northeastern portuguese tradition celebrated around carnaval. it dates back to the pre-roman times and is probably linked with agrarian fertility rites. the caretos dress in masks, wool costumes and go on their business creating havoc, yelling, rattling their cow bells. their favorite victims are young ladies.
(I love iberian mask traditions, so it’s probable that, if you have been following me for a while, have noticed I love folklore elements lol)

Iara is the name of a figure from Brazilian mythology based on ancient Tupi and Guaraní mythology. The word derives from Old Tupi yîara = y + îara (water + lord/lady) = lady of the lake (water queen). She is seen as either a water nymph, siren, or mermaid depending upon the context of the story told about her. The Brazilian town of Nova Olinda claims the Cama da Mãe D’água as the home of Iara.

Iara was a beautiful young woman, sometimes described as having green hair and light skin, connected to a freshwater water body who would sit on a rock by the river combing her hair or dozing under the sun. When she felt a man around she would start to sing gently to lure him. Once under the spell of the Iara a man would leave anything to live with her underwater forever, which was not necessarily a bad thing, as she was pretty and would cater for all needs of her lover for the rest of his life.

Iaras are immortal (like the nymphs of Greek mythology), but her lovers do age and die, which means that they live most of eternity alone. The legend of the Iara was one of the usual explanations for the disappearance of those who ventured alone in the jungle.

El silencio es fundamental, significa el basamento donde se apoyan todos los sonidos, empezando por la música. La resolución de vivir, de pensar, de morir, de llorar o de rezar siempre parte del silencio. A través del silencio, uno acomoda el alma ya sea para el rezo, para montar a caballo o para la copla. Cuando termina la tarde hay un gran silencio que prepara la noche, es ‘la hora azul de las vidalas’. Sin ese silencio no habría vidalas.. Las grandes ciudades se fagocitan al hombre y le roban tantas cosas… y el gran ausente es el silencio
—  Atahualpa Yupanqui
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pauliteiros de miranda, trás-os-montes

(please full view)

cultural background: pauliteiros are from the north of portugal and they do a warrior dance beating each other with each others’ sticks (pau = stick), simulating battles and way less dangerous sword choreographies. it’s probably something that dates back to roman times probably, as practices with wood swords were not uncommon and its remnants can be found everywhere around europe assimilated into other traditional rites. the pauliteiros wear embroidered skirts, colorful shawls and flowers in their hats. the dancing groups are made of eight people, originally men but nowadays there are all female groups as well. i have seen one perform once and it was very pretty. 

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Hoy nació una de las pintoras destacadas de México ( y una de mis favoritas): MARÍA IZQUIERDO solía decir: “ES DELITO SER MUJER Y TENER TALENTO”. Una frase que definía el momento del México de mediados del siglo XX que le tocó vivir y tal vez padecer, pero al que se impuso hasta ser una de las artistas mexicanas más destacadas, su ímpetu la llevo a ser en el año de 1930, la primera mujer mexicana en exponer su trabajo fuera del territorio nacional, presentando su obra en el Art Center de la ciudad de Nueva York”.

Brazilian folklore

Brazilian folklore is a very extensive subject. It includes stories, legends, dances, superstitions and religious rituals, either brought to the land by the Portuguese, the Africans or already present in its native cultures. All of these manifestations are quite peculiar to each culture and different in each region of Brazil. By learning about the folklore of a country, it is possible to understand the people and part of their history.

Among the most popular characters of the Brazilian folklore are:

  • Boitatá;
  • Boto Rosa;
  • Curupira;
  • Iara;
  • Mula-sem-cabeça;
  • Saci-Pererê;
  • Bumba-meu-boi.

Mais uma! Esta é Jaci, a deusa da lua, eu a apresentei antes aqui. Ela foi uma das primeiras deusas a ser criada, já que antes dela veio apenas Tupã, seu marido, e ela foi criada ao mesmo tempo que seu irmão gêmeo, Guaraci, deus do sol. Ela é calma e compreesiva, mas seu temperamento pode mudar de acordo com suas fases.

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One more! This is Jaci, the moon goddess, I presented her before. She is one of the first gods created, since the first is Tupã, her husband, and she was created by him alongside her twin brother Guaraci, the sun, She is kind and understanding, but her temper may change easily depending on the phase she is in. 

The Saci is considered the most popular character in Brazilian folklore. He is a one-legged black or mulatto youngster with holes in the palms of his hands, who smokes a pipe and wears a magical red cap that enables him to disappear and reappear wherever he wishes (usually in the middle of a dust devil). Considered an annoying prankster in most parts of Brazil, and a potentially dangerous and malicious creature in others, he will nevertheless grant wishes to anyone who manages to trap him or steal his magic cap. However his cap is often depicted as having a bad smell, most people who claimed to have stolen this cap often say they can never wash the smell away.

There are several variants of the myth, including:

  • Saci-pererê, black as coal (the best known)
  • Saci-trique, mulatto and more benign.
  • Saci-saçurá, with red eyes.