Curious things about Argentina?

Indigenous peoples

There is more than 30 different ethnic groups in the country; from chorotes, mapuches, kollas, to wichis and guaranis. Each with their own fascinating culture and traditions. 2.4% of the population consider themselves to be Amerindians, indigenous or of indigenous descent.

Gauchos visit the Virgin

Gauchos have their own pilgrimage to the historic city of Lujan to visit the famous Neogothic Abbey by the river. Since 1945 a Gauchesc Pilgimage takes place every year during the last week of September. More than 7000 gauchos pay homage to the Virgin joined by many thousands of people. There is also a traditional parade with horses from the local Pampas and ox-drawn carriages.

Buenos Aires to New York on horseback

24th of April is the National Day of the Horse (Día Nacional del Caballo). On this day we remember the legendary journey of Don Aimé F. Tschiffelly who travelled on horseback all the way from Buenos Aires to New York. The horses were called Gato and Mancha and it took them 3 years to reach the North American city. Both horses had been bought in Patagonia from a local Tehuelche chief.

Swiss Professor Aimé Tschiffeli tells us of their character:

“From the beginning I noticed a real difference between their characters. Mancha was an excellent guarding dog; he was always alert…he would not allow anyone else but me to ride him…Gato was significantly different, it was easier to break him…” (in reciclandohistoria)

Old still standing

The oldest colonial buildings in the Province of Buenos Aires still standing today are situated in the city of Lujan. One is the Cabildo (local Government House) inaugurated in 1797. The other is the famous Casa del Virrey (Viceroy’s House) where the famous-or infamous-viceroy Miguel de Sobremonte stopped while escaping Buenos Aires after the first English Invasion of 1806. These days both buildings house two of the most fascinating museums in the country.

First flight across South Atlantic

Plus Ultra was the first hydroplane which crossed the South Atlantic reaching Argentina from Spain in 1926. The journey, commanded by Spanish aviators, took almost 60 hours! The plane was later donated to the Argentine Navy.

Indigenous Saint

The first Catholic Argentine to be proclaimed ‘venerable’ by the Vatican, and the first South American aborigine, was Ceferino Namuncurá, son of an indigenous Mapuche chief. Pope Paul VI promulgated the Decree in 1972. The Lily of Patagonia (“El lirio de la Patagonia”), as he was called, was later also proclaimed ‘saint’ by Pope Benedict XVI on 6 July 2007. The beatification ceremony was held in Argentina, one of the very few which have taken place outside the Vatican.

Asados and slaves

According to anthropologist Pablo Cirio one of the very distinct parts of the world famous Argentine asado (barbecue) may have been inherited from black slaves. Although slavery was abolished with the constitution of 1853, slaves had been brought into Buenos Aires from the Sixteenth Century. Before the elites introduced their French servants it was black slaves who used to cook their meals as well as carry out all of their household duties. All these achuras, sweetbreads and chitterlings for example, used to be thrown away by the masters and therefore eaten by their staff. It may have been later black elites who influenced local gastronomy introducing these novelties.