Skip to main content

Tereré - More Than Just a Drink

After being completely spoiled with a cold front last week (80 degrees instead of 100), we're back up to high temps. In our home, we live on tereré. Tereré is the cold version of Mate Tea. Everyone in Paraguay drinks it in the summertime. Tereré was introduced by the Guarani Indians in Paraguay and the tradition has been borrowed by the Southern Cone (Brazilians, Argentineans, Uruguayans and Chileans).

Very few Paraguayans drink plain water, so tereré's crucial for hydration in this humid heat. Day wagers take tereré breaks (our version of a coffee break) at 10:00 a.m. and at 3:00 in our area. They gather in a circle and one designated person serves to each person in the "ronda". Each person takes his turn sipping their serving of the cold tea and immediately returns it to the server. It is considered bad etiquette to hold on to the tereré too long! Paraguayans definitely take tereré seriously!

You can use lemonade, limeade, orange juice, pop, or cold water with lemon to pour into the tea leaves. Most Paraguayans add special herbs to their water and crush them with a mortar and pestle, to add a refreshing flavor or medicinal value. Our friends are teaching us about each of these herbs and their uses to cure ailments. We like mint and lemongrass.

One of our cups is a cow horn, called a guampa. The other one we use is metal, to help keep the drink as cold as possible. The straw is called a bombilla and has a filter at the end of it. It can be made of silver or metal and they are easy to lose, but we wouldn't know that by personal experience!

You will see a Paraguayana carrying his/her thermos everywhere they go. Many times they personalize their thermos with their name or their favorite soccer team. Ours has a scripture verse on it, with our name (so it's not stolen), which, unfortunately, has happened, twice.

Drinking tereré isn't just an addicting ritual here, it's a sign of trust and communion. For us, drinking tereré is an important part of our day, not just because it refreshes (and stimulates) us in the heat. It is an excellent time to sit down and catch up on the happenings of each other's day. Some of our best conversations and dreams are born while sipping this delicious drink outside on the porch. Here's a picture of our son drinking tereré. He was only 18 months old in this photo. You know, after all this talkin' I'm already getting thirsty for a tereré !




Do you have some type of "break" to sit down and catch up during the busyness of the day?

Comments

  1. Great post on terere. I love the stuff but can't be bothered to make it at home, although I enjoy sharing others :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We're fairly addicted, too. I don't like the highly flavored ones, or when it's really fresh and powdery. But we love it anyway...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am too new to be addicted yet. I am still in the try to like terere phase. Abi, however, is frequently asking "mas terere?" I love the terere breaks and driving through Asuncion and seeing businessmen, teenagers, everyone carrying their thermos and wampa on the street, in their car, in the mall... everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  4. yeah, it's unbelieveble, but in every home, in every street, no matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter if u have money or if you're poor, tereré it's always there, it's the only thing what paraguayan people doesn't fifhgt for. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sentimos muita falta do tereré porque aqui faz muito calor, mas o povo aqui só pensa em trabalhar e se te vêm sentado tomando tereré , pensam que você está perdendo tempo...aqui difícil conseguir uma boa erva de tereré, quando alguém vai para o Paraguay sempre encomendamos para nós...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.


Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 



Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!


To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

The Genesis of my story in Paraguay: Part 2

In Part 1, I shared how my first move to Paraguay was at age 5. At that time I was a minor, following my parents around. But my second move to Paraguay was at age 25 when after college, I—or better said, we—decided to move back to Paraguay. This time, the Genesis was a letter inviting us to help pioneer a new radio station there.


At the time I had just gotten married to my college sweetheart Julie. We were both enrolled in seminary, enjoying just being married and going to school. Among our hobbies at the time was traveling the U.S. and to any country that we had the funds to go to. During those days, we began running seriously and trained for our first marathons and adventure race. Our first marathon was the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie and I finished together in what I thought was a pretty good time of 4 hours, 12 minutes.


One day, a letter in our mailbox got us thinking about plans beyond graduation. The letter was from Walter Franz, inviting us to help establis…

Paraguayan Weddings

On Valentine’s Day, we had the joy of attending the wedding of Sandra and Anastacio, young leaders in the church. Sandra is my assistant with Children of Promise and Anastacio, apart from his carpentry job, has a popular youth-focused radio program every night at 8:00 on our station.

We’ve been to quite a few weddings, and these are some of the uniquenesses of southern Paraguayan wedding celebrations from our North American culture:

1. Nothing is fancy. Emphasis is placed on the act of marriage and not on the decorations or food.
2. It is not an expectation that parents help pay for expenses. Most families just make it each month with regular expenses and cannot afford to pay for eleborate feasts. Most couples have to spend months saving for their own wedding.
3. Borrow as much as possible. Many times wedding dresses are borrowed 5-10 times, because few women can afford their own. Flowers, decorations, shoes and ties (Norb loans out his ties often...since he never wears them!) are …