A representation of a countryman figure (equivalent to a cowboy) evolved through the history of Latin American countries. Each country has a “character” with particular elements that connect it with the country. For example, the countrymen of Puerto Rico is the jíbaro, for Argentina and Uruguay it is the gaucho, and in Mexico it is the charro.
Huaso is the name of the Chilean countrymen and an important part of the country’s folkloric culture. During the week of Chile’s Fiestas Patrias celebration the huaso figure becomes more prominent. You will see adults wearing some of the elements of the huaso attire and kids dressed up to perform special school activities.
But what does it take to be a huaso? Check out this infographic we’ve put together that highlights and explains some of the huaso’s characteristics. It includes some photos of our trip to Chile.
Infographic: HUASO, the Chilean Cowboy
(Scroll down for the text version)
HUASO: The Chilean Cowboy
1. A huaso is a Chilean countryman and skilled horseman.
2. Huasos are found all over Central and Southern Chile.
3. Huasos are an important part of the Chilean folkloric culture and are a vital part of parades, fiestas, and holidays.
4. Theories of the origin of the name huaso:
• GUASO: Andalusian and American Spanish word that means “rough and rustic.”
• HUAKCHA: A Quechua word pronounced as huacho meaning “orphan, not belonging to a community.”
• HUASU: A Quechua word meaning either “the back of an animal,” or “rough and rustic.”
5. The three most distinctive icons of the typical huaso attire are: the chupalla, the chamanto and the espuelas.
6. CHUPALLA: Straw hat made from achupalla or chupalla.
7. CHAMANTO: A short multi-colored blanket wornover the shoulders, also called a manta or a poncho.
8. ESPUELAS: Spur with 4-inch rowels.
9. STIRRUPS: The huaso stirrups or estribos are carved from wood to cover and shield the foot. The insides are shaped like a shoe.
10. POLAINAS or CORRALERAS: Leather protection for the legs, usually fringed leatherand buckles.
11. The formal huaso attire includes:
• a black hat
• black pants
• a strap on the belt
• a sash embellishment made of thread, wool or silk, usually red. It’s used on the waist, often very long so you can make several turns at the waist and fall to the left fringe
• white or checked shirt
• Andalusian waist jacket in black or white with buttons on the sides of the sleeves and waist
• fine black boots
• a woven chamanto in solid colors
• polainas or corraleras
12. In the CHILEAN RODEO, a team (called a collera) of two riders (huasos) and two horses ride laps around an arena trying to stop a calf, pinning him against massive cushions. Points are earned every time the steer is properly driven around the corral, with deductions for faults. Rodeos are conducted in a crescent-shaped corral called a medialuna.
13. A female huaso is called a huasa or china, whose dress can be seen in cueca dancing.
Text source: Wikipedia
As you can see, learning about the culture of a country also helps you expand your vocabulary for both native and non-native Spanish-speakers.
Don’t miss the Chilean Fiestas Patrias Day Celebration Check List here:
Check out these other Chile Culture articles.