The Gauchos, Argentina’s very own version of cowboy culture, have a crucial role in the country’s history and culture. A terrific thrust to Argentina’s economy has been provided by the cattle industry and Gauchos were the first to utilize the vast grazing lands of Argentina for breeding cattle. These days tourists can witness Gaucho culture during a visit to Argentina.
Argentina’s country side areas like parts of Central Andes or Pampas offer the best opportunities to those willing to find out more about Gauchos and their lifestyle. Like the traditional cowboys of the USA, during days of old the Gaucho cowboys lived on the edge of the colonies and led a completely independent life free from any sort of control exerted by law. As population continued to grow, those living in colonies moved out in the open Pampas in order to increase sheep breeding activities. Many gauchos then worked tirelessly on these large farms.
Normal gaucho dress included loose trousers, a poncho and high leather boots. Other quintessential gaucho dress included a long knife and stones which were bound in strips of leather called a boleadora. The principal use of this was to trip and bound cattle legs. Times have changed and today you will find that folks in gaucho families dress in jeans but there are many festivals in which traditional gaucho outfit is worn and such occasions are extremely important in learning more about gaucho culture.
Initially, the gauchos were looked down on but, after joining the war against Spain, they became romantic figures. There is festival arranged on 16th June each year for celebrating and honoring Gouchos because of the courage they had displayed during the fight to obtain freedom. In Salta, fires are lit encircling the monument of the general that led them into war while on the 17th, the day the general passed away, there’s a gaucho parade in his honor.
One thing the gauchos are most famous for and which has permeated all of Argentina as well as travelled to other parts of the globe is the asado, a kind of barbecue.
During olden days, these gaucho cowboys lived a completely nomadic life and very often wandering cattle were butchered by these people for having food. An open flame was created once the animal was butchered and almost everything would be cooked immediately.
Among the best destination to find out about the gauchos is San Antonio de Areco, approximately 113 km from Buenos Aires. It is considered to be the centre of gaucho culture and even has a museum, Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Guiraldes which has a number of restored or created buildings designed to reflect the gaucho lifestyle of the past.
If you’re really curious about this aspect of Argentine culture, you’ll want to go there for the Dia de la Tradicion, held in the first couple of weeks of November.
Dates vary each year and therefore you have to obtain prior information regarding the exact date for that particular year. This event is characterized by various forms of Argentina’s culture such as various folk dance forms, art based exhibitions, horse riding skills etc.
The event is also celebrated in San Jose de Jachal, where you will have a chance to experience a less touristy version of the festival. Interestingly this town has been named Cuna de la Tradicion or Holder of Custom owing to the fact that the place has been a key player in making sure that age old traditions of gaucho culture are kept alive and vibrant. The area also happens to be that part of Argentina where gorgeous vineyards can be found and there are quite a few wine producing units there.