Certain things are so good they need to be shared with the world. Sometimes they spread like wildfire. Other times, they creep out so slowly and discreetly that we eventually forget where they originally came from.
You’ll find both types on this list. But one thing they all have in common is that they highlight the irresistible character and spirit of Argentinian culture. Whether you decide to spend a year, semester, or summer abroad in Argentina, you won’t regret heading straight to the source of these awesome Argentinian legacies:
1. Gaucho Life
The term “Gaucho” effectively means “Cowboy” in English. And although America’s famous old western films suggest otherwise, the Gauchos of Argentina were the original leaders of what we call the “wild west” lifestyle.
Gauchos have long inhabited Argentina’s Pampas (grasslands), where they herd cattle and subsist on a diet of beef and yerba mate tea. The Gaucho outfit, moreover, includes a hat similar to the American cowboy hat and a leather necktie that looks much like the American bolo tie (leather cord fastened in the front with rocks). Unlike the more modern U.S. counterparts, however, these cowboys also often wear wool ponchos.
The famous play, Evita, has been raved about for decades. But long before it met Broadway fame and got turned into a feature film starring Madonna, it was a telling tribute to the life of Eva Perón, the play’s compassionate protagonist.
Eva Perón was the first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She was known for being an advocate for the people, and they loved her deeply for it. This adoration can be seen in the emotional resonance of the play, and our lives are all just a little better for having seen it.
If you’re in Argentina, you can visit the “Pink House” in Buenos Aires where Eva Perón lived with her husband while he was president. The house is, quite literally, made of pink stone and often lit up at night by hot pink lights.
3. Yerba Mate
Few things are better than catching up with good friends. In Argentina, Yerba Mate provides the perfect excuse to do so, and to do so often.
Yerba Mate is a strong tea steeped in hot water and drunk out of a hollow gourd. It is uniquely caffeinated, known for having the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoric sensation of chocolate, all in one drink! Naturally, it fuels laughter and conversation among friends, family members and colleagues.
One of the most common sights you’ll see in Argentina is teenagers and adults gathered in public squares, laughing, chatting, and – sipping mate. If Argentina had one symbol of its culture, it would probably be this incomparable beverage, which is now popular all over the world.
4. The “Dance of Love”
The Tango, known for its captivating moves and exhilarating music, is practiced in dance classes and nightclubs all over the world. But few people know of its humble beginnings.
The Tango originated on the Argentinian banks of the Río Uruguay, the river that separates Argentina from Uruguay. It was initially danced only among low-class workers, who perfected its signature blend of slow, seductive movements peppered with decisive, staccato steps. It’s not called the “dance of love” for nothing.
Aptly, the “dance of love” made its first international debut when it spread to the “city of love,” Paris, in 1912. Since then, it has migrated to all regions of the globe, but its authentic origins can still be seen in its enduring improvisational nature.
Considered to be the epitome of Argentine culture, an asado refers to both a barbeque as a social gathering and the meat itself, typically beef, pork, chicken, or chorizo. Historically, gauchos had a large passion for beef and would roast the beef close to a fire on a metal structure called an “asador.” Asado has endured the test of time, serving as a cultural staple, a celebration of life, and a reason to gather with loved ones.
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