Customs and traditions
Almost all residents identify as
"Paraguayans", although they may also have other
cultural identities. For example, they may belong to the
indigenous peoples, be German-speaking Mennonites, or
have the brunt of Brazilian immigrants (brasiguayos).
The most important expression of national identity is
the language guaraní, as almost all Paraguayans speak.
The use of guaraní stands over various social classes
and political camps. The wars that Paraguay has fought
in history against other countries - the Triple Alliance
Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in 1865 and Bolivia in the
Chaco War 1932-1935 - also bind the Paraguayans together
(see Older history). Memorials of important kinds are
important national holidays.
Overview of the capital city of Paraguay, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Although the move into cities is rapid, more than one
in three people still live in rural areas, where the
majority live on smaller farms or are employed in
slightly larger export farms. The earth is very evenly
distributed; a small proportion of the farmers own most
of the land, while most farmers have farms on only a few
hectares (see further Agriculture and Fisheries). Rural
women work with everything from cultivating the soil and
grinding the important corn flour to sewing and making
clothes and taking care of the children. They trade the
food and fetch water. It is not uncommon for women to
also have a side job to contribute to the family's
livelihood. It may be to sew on order, make cigars or
run a small shop.
Know and label
In the middle and upper classes, one is greeted by a
kiss on both cheeks. Even women and men who do not know
each other greet with double cheek kiss. In formal
contexts, men greet each other through a handshake. The
same rules apply when saying goodbye.
In the cities most people dress in western fashion.
In the countryside, it is common for women to wear a
kind of shawl (rebozo) and a simple dress or
skirt and blouse. The men dress in loose-fitting pants (bomachas),
shirt or jacket, scarf and poncho.
Eating habits and meals
The traditional diet consists mainly of corn, beans
and cassava (a root cause, also called manioc or yuca).
Cassava is often eaten cooked, but the roots are also
ground into flour for bread baking. In richer families,
a lot of grilled meat (parrillada) is also
eaten. Typical Paraguayan dishes are locro
(corn stew), sopa paraguaya (a cornbread / pie
with onion and cheese), chipa guazú (an
intermediate between sopa paraguaya and a corn suffle)
and mbaipy so'ó (corn pudding with beef
The breakfast is usually light and fast. It may
consist of some cornbread and tea. The main meal of the
day is usually consumed in the middle of the day, while
a lighter evening meal is eaten around 18:00. The main
raw material is cassava or corn. A common dish is
porridge made from dried beans, peas and peanuts. A
variety of fruits are also common. The most popular
beverage is Paraguayan tea (yerba mate), which
is served both cold (tereré) and hot (cocido),
often seasoned with beneficial herbs.
Paraguayans often meet over a cup of yerba mate or a
simple meal. At special family gatherings and parties,
guests are usually offered an asado (barbecue
party), where beef (sometimes pig) is grilled over an
open fire. Classic accessories are cassava and sop
paraguaya. Asado is also organized at Christmas and
Easter. The Christmas table consists of duck, lamb,
chicken and turkey. For that, beer and cider are served.
Caña is an alcoholic beverage made from sugar
Holidays and national holidays
The usual Catholic holidays like Christmas and Easter
are celebrated by a large majority of the population.
Halloween Day is celebrated on November 1 with family
and relatives gathering in cemeteries and decorating the
graves of dead relatives. On December 8, Virgin Mary's
purity is celebrated with the Festividad de
la Inmaculada Concepción (The Immaculate Virgin
Birth). Then a pilgrimage to the basilica is carried out
in the Caacupé pilgrimage.
San Juan Day (San Juan Ara / Día de San Juan)
is celebrated on June 24 with traditional games,
including glowing coal. On August 1, the guaraní
tradition says to drink carrulim, which is a
beverage consisting of caña, ruda (a medicinal
plant) and lemon. These ingredients should be
health-enhancing, bring happiness and drive away evil.
This day special vendors go around and offer bottle
Non-religious holidays are New Year's Day (January
1), Ban Blas (celebration of the nation's
patron saint, February 3), Heroes 'Day (March 3),
Workers' Day (May 1), Independence Day (May 14), Chaco
Peace (June 12), founding Asunción (August 15),
Constitution Day (August 25), Victory at the Battle of
Boquerón (in the Chaco War, September 29) and the
anniversary of the discovery of America (October 12).