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"The Gaucho is a native of..." Argentina Local Custom Tip by la_beba

Argentina Local Customs: 99 reviews and 82 photos


<font color=red size=+1>The Gaucho</font> is a native of Indian and Spanish descent, born in the 'Banda Oriental' (1) in the 18th century, skilful on the land, generally a horseman, whose arms were the lasso and the 'facón' (long knife). He was part of the national army in the wars for independence. He was well known for his proverbial love for freedom; for his honesty and his courage; for his acute awareness of the psychology of mankind and its situations; for his lack of interest and detachment of material things; for his remarkable sense of humor and his unquestionable love for friendship. The word Gaucho comes from the Quechuan expression 'huacho', which means orphan or vagabond. Later, the Spaniards associated the word 'guacho' with the word orphan, and the word 'gaucho' with vagabond.
The Gaucho clothing:
<b>Chambergo (cocked hat)</b>Hat of the countryman, made of felt. Some have chinstrap, which is a strip or cord that fits underneath the chin to secure it against the wind. Other hats used by the gauchos were the top hat; the point-shaped hat; the bowler hat; the sleeve hat; the 'donkey belly' hat made from the leather removed from the belly of the donkey.
<b>Espuela (spur)</b>Instrument that the horseman places in his heels to stimulate the horse. Some spurs are simple, others luxurious. Some are even works of art.
<b>Poncho</b>Rectangular piece of cloth, wool, vicuna or another material with an opening in the center to pull over the head. It can be worn as clothing or as a blanket.
<b>Bombacha (wide trousers)</b>Wide trousers that are fitted in the ankle. The countryman uses it to work. On holidays he usually wears very wide trousers, a touch of elegance. When he wears boots, he tucks the ends of the wide trousers inside the boots. If he walks around in espadrilles, he unbuttons the ends of the trousers.
<b>Chiripá (kind of blanket worn as trousers)</b>Made of thick flannel, the gaucho would place it between his legs and fasten it to his waist with a wide sash. The 'chiripá' had a very relaxed fit which gave the gaucho maximum freedom to move around when working on the land.
<b>Vincha (headband)</b>Handkerchief, band or small woven strip which the Indians and the countrymen placed on their forehead to keep the hair falling onto the eyes. Nowadays, the horse breakers use headbands during their violent breaking in of horses.
<b>Lazo (lasso)</b>Round, braided rop consisting of two, three, four and up to eight thin strips of leather. It measures from seventeen to twenty meters long and has an iron ring on one end.
<b>Rebenque (whip)</b>Short whip to urge the horse. The leather strip has the same length as the handle.
<b>Pañuelo (neckerchief)</b>Nowadays, the gaucho wears it loose around his neck. The one that his countrymen used to wear in the past, was worn beneath the hat, covering the nape and part of the face; it was called headscarf.
<b>Facón (long knife)</b>Big, pointed straight knife, sometimes double-edged; a weapon the gaucho used in fights. The 'S' shaped 'facón' had a kind of handle in form of 'S' or half-moon between the grip and the blade.
<b>Daga (dagger)</b>Double-edged weapon. It differs from the 'facón' in that the dagger is narrower and does not have the 'S' which is the curved piece that separates the grip from the quillon, which is the thickest part of the knife.
<b>Bota de potro (colt hide boot)</b>The gauchos wore colt hide boots. It was a piece of raw hide properly treated, made from the leg of a colt, a foal or a cow. Some boots were made of one whole piece and others were open at the toes.
<b>Cinto (belt)</b>Short and narrow strap generally made of fabric with which the gaucho holds his wide trousers in place.
<b>Tirador (belt)</b>Tanned leather belt with pockets to keep the money. Some are very luxurious, adorned with silver coins.
<b>Rastra (thick leather belt)</b>Adornment that is applied on the 'tirador'. They are usually valuable, made with plates of wrought silver and drawings of native motifs.
<b>Corralera (blouse)</b>Short blouse which buttons up in the upper part and remains loose and open at the waist. It is also called 'voladora'.
<b>Boleadoras (lasso with balls) ;o)</b>This was a weapon in the hands of the Indians. The gauchos adopted them from the Indians and turned them into work instruments. They use the 'boleadoras' to throw the animals to the ground when toiling the land. They also use them to hunt rheas. They consisted of one, two, or three balls of stone or another heavy material covered with leather and were held together with strands.<p><center><font color=red size=+1><i>A son am I of the rolling plain
A gaucho born and bred
And this is my pride; to live as free

As the bird that cleaves the sky.</i></font></center>

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  • Written Aug 26, 2002
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