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Guarani Mythology: Jasy-Jatere

By Edited Jan 22, 2016 0 0

The Guarani people are an indigenous group from South America. A few hundred years ago, the Guarani were located in Northern Argentina, Southern Brazil, and mainly in Paraguay, and their descendants still live in those areas today. For those of you who don't know, Paraguay is a landlocked country in the heart of South Amerrica. Almost all Paraguayans are mixed race, not only Spanish but also Guarani, as when the Spaniards first arrived to South America they married the native Guarani women. As many native American cultures and languages are dying across the Western Hemisphere, the Guarani culture is still surviving. Paraguay in fact not only has Spanish as its official language, but also Guarani, which is the name of the language spoken by the Guarani people. If you go two hours away from the capital, Asuncion, almost everybody speaks mostly Guarani, intermixed with some Spanish (called Jopara). Unfortunately, many Paraguayan youth are not learning how to speak Guarani and it could be a dying language, but the Guarani  culture in Paraguay is still very present in what the Paraguayans eat, drink, and stories they tell.

One of the main stories in Guarani mythology is Jasy-Jatere. (pronounced Ya-su ya-ta-ray. Su is made nasally.) The story goes that one of the first humans, Marangatu, had a child named Kerena, whose name literally means sleeps all day.[6493] Kerena was captured by an evil spirit called Tau, and together had seven children, who make up the main focus of Guarani mythology. One of the two more famous ones is Jasy-Jatere, whose tale is still told today by many families. Jasy-Jatere is the supposed God of the siesta. His appearance is generally described to be as a small, dwarf-child. The legend goes that if a child is misbehaving and not sleeping during the siesta, Jasy-Jatere will come and kidnap them and take them into the forest. Mothers often tell the story to their children to get them to sleep during the siesta. Jasy-Jatere is often depicted by having blonde hair and carrying a staff.[6492]

As with the Guarani language, the stories often shared by parents may be fading off. I know that someone who was born around the 1960s and 1970s and before most likely heard the story of Jasy-Jatere, as well as one of the other most told Guarani myths, the Luison. I first heard the story when I was a teenager, and was somewhat interested in it, but not as much as Tolkein was with Norse mythology. To me, it is always interesting to find out about other cultures and their stories, so today I shared the story of Jasy-Jatere with you. Hopefully, it is intriguing to you and will make you want to learn more about other cultures.  The legend of Jasy-Jatere is now passed on to you readers at Infobarrel, so share the Guarani story of Jasy-Jatere whenever your child is misbehaving or whenever they need to take a nap, or just to pass on aspects of another, unique culture.  

And children, behave. You never know when Jasy-Jatere might come for you! MWAHAHAHA!

Sources: 

[6492]

[6493]  

And the best source of all, knowledge I recieved by somebody I know (not me!) of the myth from someone who was told about it, knows it, and is from Paraguay. 

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Bibliography

  1. "Guarani Mythology." Wikipedia. 3/January/2012 <Web >
  2. "About Paraguay." Fauna Paraguay. 3/January/2012 <Web >

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