Traditions and customs of Paraguay

What traditions and customs are there in Paraguay?

The Guarani land shows us a great variety of customs and traditions of Paraguay.


Food in daily life

Corn, cassava (cassava), and beef form the staple diet. Typical dishes include locro (a corn stew), Paraguayan soup (a rich cornmeal and cheese bread), chipa guazú (a cross between Paraguayan soup and a corn soufflé), and mbaipy so’ó (corn pudding). with pieces of meat).

Cassava root is commonly served boiled, and its starch is a main ingredient in several traditional foods, including chipa (a dense, baked bread of cassava starch and cheese) and mbejú (a fried, unleavened bread).

The main meal of the day is taken at noon and generally includes corn or cassava-based foods. A wide variety of tropical and semi-tropical fruits are also consumed.

Drinks made from yerba mate (Paraguayan tea) are ubiquitous. The tea can be drunk hot (“maté”) or cold (“tereré”), and medicinal herbs are often added. The leaves can also be roasted and boiled to make a tea that is served for breakfast or for a late afternoon snack.

Food customs on ceremonial occasions

Family celebrations and special social gatherings call for an asado, or barbecue, with beef roasted over open fireplaces and accompanied by boiled cassava and Paraguayan soup.

Chipa is traditionally prepared for the main religious festivals of Christmas and Easter. Special meals during these holidays may also include a beef roast or pork roast.


Marriages are formed by choice of the couple and can be church, civil or consensual unions. According to the 1992 census, 68 percent of women over the age of nineteen were in a relationship, of which 78 percent were married in a church or civil ceremony. Legal divorce is rare, although unions are often unstable, especially among the poor.

Although a conservative Roman Catholic society, Paraguay has long been characterized by unstable consensual unions and a high rate of illegitimacy.

Men’s extramarital behavior is little criticized as long as it does not affect the security of the family, but women’s behavior is reflected in the family, and women are expected to be faithful if they are in a stable union.


Greetings vary according to the social class, gender and level of intimacy of the parties. Except in formal business situations, upper-class and middle-class women, who are socially equal, greet each other with a kiss on each cheek, whether they are acquaintances or meeting for the first time.

Male and female acquaintances of these social classes greet each other in the same way. Men of all social classes shake hands in formal situations. Farewell follows the same rules.


Religious beliefs

Paraguay is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. There are also various Protestant sects and small groups of the Baha’i, Buddhist and Jewish faiths.

Rituals and sacred places

In addition to Roman Catholic holidays and rituals, Paraguay pays homage to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. This day is celebrated with a pilgrimage led by religious and government officials to the Caacupé sanctuary.

Death and the afterlife

Beliefs and practices regarding death follow the Roman Catholic tradition. The dead are buried in mausoleums, and the novena is traditionally observed, although this practice is declining in urban areas. Traditionally, All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1 by decorating the graves of deceased relatives and gathering in cemeteries to honor the dead.

Secular celebrations

The national holidays are: January 1 (New Year), February 3 (Ban Blas, patron saint of the nation), March 1 (Heroes’ Day), May 1 (Labor Day), May 14-15, May (Independence Day), June 12 (Paz del Chaco), August 15 (Asunción Foundation), August 25 (Constitution Day), September 29 (Battle of Boquerón, anniversary of a key victory in the Chaco War), October 12 (Day of the Race, anniversary of the discovery of America), November 1 (All Saints’ Day), December 8 (Immaculate Conception) and December 25 (Christmas). Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day and Corpus Christi are recognized as national holidays and are observed according to the religious calendar.

The arts and humanities


The internal market for literature was limited until recently by the poverty and limited education of the majority of the population, as well as by repression and censorship under the Stroessner dictatorship. However, there is an active literary tradition.

Most of the literature is in Spanish, although contemporary authors may include Guarani phrases and dialogue in their works. The most recognized contemporary authors are Augusto Roa Bastos and Josefina Plá.

Graphic arts

Traditional folk arts include ñanduti (a spider web-shaped lace made in the Itaugua village), ao poí (embroidered cloth), various types of pottery and clay (especially in the Aregua and Tobatí villages), and filigree jewelry from silver (focused on the town of Luque). Paintings by contemporary artists are exhibited in various galleries in Asunción.

Performing arts

The country is known for its slow and often melancholy harp and guitar music. Although of European origin, this music is usually performed in Guarani and reflects national themes.

The music is performed by ordinary people to entertain themselves at social gatherings and celebrations, as well as by professional musicians. Traditional dance performances, including the bottle dance (so called because the performers balance bottles on their heads) and polkas are popular.

The theater was introduced by Francisco Solano López, and in 1863 the first Italian opera by a touring company premiered at the National Theater in Asunción. Theater today is centered around Asunción, and plays are occasionally performed in both Guarani and Spanish.

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