ASUNCION – The southern Paraguayan city of Santiago de Misiones is preparing for its 40th annual celebration of the region’s gaucho traditions, which kicks off on Jan. 20.
The Traditional Misiones Festival was presented Tuesday in Asuncion by showcasing the gastronomy, the equestrian culture and the heritage of Misiones province, named for the colonial-era Jesuit missions that evolved into towns such as Santiago.
And as expected, all eyes were on the gauchos and their daring displays of horsemanship.
In fact, the festival will begin with a parade of 200 Paraguayan cowboys and a folkloric Mass recalling the missionary origins of the province.
“A people without culture and without traditions has no identity,” David Bolla, a member of the Lions Club of Santiago and a member of the festival’s organizing committee, told EFE
The event will also be the ideal place to hear talks about the culture and cuisine of Misiones, known for its barbecued meat on a skewer, and its “batiburrillo,” a stew with chunks of lamb.
All that plus prestigious speakers will be on hand like former President Nicanor Duarte and the chair of the Touristic Cities of Latin America Federation, Derlis Esteche.
Also attending the presentation of the festival on Tuesday was Tourism Secretary Sofia Montiel, who spoke of the event’s importance as a means of “enriching ourselves culturally” by getting to know the Misiones culture.
The Traditional Misiones Festival was begun 40 years ago by a group of people interested in bringing back the heritage of the gaucho way of life in Misiones.