The gaucho: a symbol of the Argentine identity
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THE GAUCHO: TRADITIONS OF BEFORE AND TODAY

It is convenient to clarify that the gaucho is a country man, who worked in the outside lands of Buenos Aires. A horseman, an independent rural man, and a nomad. The first gauchos appeared in the Littoral area in the early 17th Century and, in the desert plains of the Pampas, there were large numbers of cows and wild horses, without owners, called "cimarrones". This is how the gaucho image began to be configured. It was dedicated to the wild cattle hunt for its food, later leather extraction and commercialization.

The gaucho, in his leisure time, drank bitter mate, ate asado, empanadas, locro, stews, sweet pastries of quince cheese or sweet potato jam. He used to perform a typical sport and competition called "corrida de sortija", a game that consisted in introducing a pointer in a small ring that hanged by two upright wooden posts crossed by a beam. This gaucho game was on horseback riding with the rider standing in the stirrups, at full speed and galloping at the fastest, a real spectacle! The gaucho also spent his time playing the guitar, performing payadas, and dancing the pericon or the malambo, typical Argentinian dances.

HOW TO IDENTIFY HIM?

For his clothing, the gaucho dressed in "bombachas de campo", wide riding trousers, a poncho to shelter from the cold, a wool belt and another leather belt decorated with coins, high boots or espadrilles, a shirt with a waistcoat and a handkerchief in the neck, hat or beret, rebenque, and its traditional "facon", a knife that helped to defend itself, kill animals, hunt, cut firewood, make handicrafts, among other things.

If you wanted to make an x-ray of the gaucho, you have to read the Martín Fierro, written by José Hernández, a classic of the gaucho literature. This poetry book of 1872, considered as the gaucho bible, was written in verse that narrates the experiences of a gaucho, his life, customs, language, wisdom, and honor codes. If you had to define the gaucho in three words, they would be: pride, loyalty, and courage. The gaucho was a man of word and respect, recognized for his solidarity and favors (referred today, to "make gauchadas"), and with an incredible ability to tame horses.
His features were so strong that today the Argentines continue to maintain the customs of the past gaucho.

  • The Argentines who own campos (lands) continue with the typical gaucho outfit, its traditions, and customs.

  • Argentines also carry the asado in their DNA. Regardless of social class, it is a tradition that invites to meet friends or family every Sunday. They enjoy different meat cuts over low fire.

  • Argentines are also lovers of mate, at any time. Another tradition that remains latent in the local culture. The mate can be drink sweet or bitter. It is usually shared in the university, at work, with friends, or with family.

  • Argentines are also lovers of mate, at any time. Another tradition that remains latent in the local culture. The mate can be drink sweet or bitter. It is usually shared in the university, at work, with friends, or with family.

  • Argentines from the countryside and the city also enjoy the flavors of empanadas, locro, stews, sweet pastries of quince cheese or sweet potato jam. These customs are still intact and often stand out in national days as commemoration of the local traditions.

If you are visiting Buenos Aires, you cannot miss to immerse yourself in the gaucho tradition, get to know its lifestyle, its gastronomy and its customs.
The Day of Tradition will be celebrated next November 10th, in honor of the birth of the writer and poet José Hernández, and the gaucho traditions. On this occasion, the festivities are organized in San Antonio de Areco, located 113 kilometers from the City of Buenos Aires. You will enjoy a great parade of country people through the streets, skills and exhibitions, which will be open to the public. A local event that you cannot miss!

Another alternative to know the gaucho's costumes is to spend a whole day or a weekend in an Estancia(ranch), in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Imagine eating a typical Argentinian asado, enjoying watching the equestrian skills of the gauchos, or riding a horse in a wide and green field. A unique experience to know the gaucho tradition and the Argentine customs.

Did you know…
  • For the fourth consecutive year, Buenos Aires leads the ranking of the British magazine The Economist as the best city to live in Latin America.

  • The National Gaucho Day is celebrated on December 6th

  • Buenos Aires will host the Youth Olympic Games from October 6th to 18th.

  • The 10th Edition of the Buenos Aires Contemporary Dance Festival will be from October 9th to 17th.

  • The 125th Argentine Open Polo Championship will be played in Buenos Aires at the Argentine Polo Field from November 10th to December 15th.


Do you want to live a gaucho experience? Contact our Experts in Argentina and start planning the perfect trip!




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