Each Argentine tradition tells a story about our country’s history and heritage. They point to the rich mixture of Latin American and European culture that forms our back-story. There is no doubt that seeing and experiencing some Argentinian traditions will enhance your visit to our country, and perhaps the affection you might feel for it. Here are just some of the Argentine traditions you have to experience when you are with us:
Watch the Argentine Tango.
It is the most obvious place to start in this story of our traditions. The Argentine Tango is probably the most famous of all of our traditions. It originates from the streets of Buenos Aires in the 19th Century – where African, Caribbean and European heritage fused to create this new dance. It became a dance craze back then, and was considered a moral threat on account of its sensuality. Now, you will be able to see it performed regularly in Buenos Aires – whether that’s on the streets of our capital or in a tango dance hall.
Have a Siesta.
This tradition underlines our link to Spain, and it is a tradition that remains important to Argentines. In warmer parts of the country, as in Spain, the siesta is a way for many to avoid the most intense heat of the sun. The word refers to the Latin for ‘sixth hour’, which was seen to be noon. In the cooler regions of the country, siestas are still observed, but instead of escaping the heat, it is a time when families come together to eat. It usually runs from noon until around 3 or 4pm, so keep that in mind for your travels, as some services will pause during the day to observe the siesta.
Observe an Asado.
From a young age, Argentines are taught the importance of the asado cooking techniques. The word asado refers to barbecue techniques and the social event itself. Argentines will learn to understand how to control the heat, what to use to create the heat, how to treat each cut and type of meat. Since this is a country where meat forms a huge proportion of our diet – these skills are of particular importance. The tradition comes from the Argentine cowboys – or the gauchos – who are held in high esteem. If you go to a Gaucho Party, which is a trip to a real working ranch, you’ll be treated to an Asado or Parilla.
Mate is a strong, bitter drink and you will regularly see Argentines drink it. You may even be offered some, but please don’t refuse it as that is considered rude. However, prepare yourself for its powerful taste. It’s usually drunk from a cup that is made from a gourd, and has a special straw called a bombilla. The drink itself comes from a herb called yerba mate.
The Bombilla – through which the mate is drunk.
Try Dulce de Leche.
There is a saying here that goes a little like: ‘she/he is more Argentine than dulce de leche’. Dulce de leche is a spread made from milk and sugar and you use it on toast or find it in pastries and cakes. You’re more than likely to come across it on your travels and chances are you’ll love it, and if you do perhaps you are more Argentine than dulce de leche!
Savour some Malbec.
Argentina is known for its fantastic wines. We’re a large producer of Malbec. Although the vine cuttings may originate from France, our product tastes very different. That’s mainly because here the fruit grows in tight clusters and is smaller in size, so they create a spicier berry based flavour. You’ll find the local product in restaurants, wine bars or in supermarkets.
Argentine vineyards produce a very distinct form of Malbec. When you visit, you’ll be able to pick up some wonderful wines for a very decent price.
Understand the passion for soccer / football.
Argentines are passionate about football. If you’ve witnessed any international soccer championships, then you may have noticed this. The British brought football to Buenos Aires in the 19th Century. The government promoted sports, and football in the 20th Century in attempt to undermine the appeal of the Tango, which they felt was a morally questionable form of dance! After the sport was promoted, the love of football eventually took hold, and Argentines are enthusiastic supporters of their national team in particular. We are also very proud of the fact one of the best players in the world – Lionel Messi is an Argentine.
Witnessing, trying and understanding the traditions of other countries is one of the most fascinating parts about traveling. We’d love to show our traditions and our country to you. If you are thinking of visiting Argentina, then please do visit the Gray Line Argentina website for further inspiration, or to find out how we can help you explore and make the most of your time with us. http://www.graylineargentina.com