San Blas Festivity in Paraguay

San Blas festivity in Paraguay

While there may be a handful of worthwhile festivals held in Paraguay on an annual basis, none have more of a history or religious significance than Dia de San Blas. The San Blas festivity in Paraguay is rooted in Christian origins from a faraway land; Armenia.

Even if you know nothing about the patron saint himself, if you find yourself in Paraguay during the first few days of February, you are sure to be enveloped in lively festivities including parades, music and food.

The History of Saint Blaise

Depending on who you talk to about this martyred saint, you will hear his name pronounced as Saint Blaise in English and San Blas in Spanish. Since this is an English speaking blog we will refer to him by his English name.

Saint Blaise was a Bishop in the Armenian Roman Catholic Church but he was also a physician. It is purported that his main area of medical expertise was afflictions of the throat. People would come to him from all over Armenia and neighboring countries so that he could treat their physical as well as their spiritual ailments.

As his fame spread, many miracles were also credited to him. Saint Blaise continued to serve his people but in the year 316, he was jailed and executed by order of an Armenian governor who was acting at the behest of the emperor Licinius. Apparently Licinius, much like other Roman emperors of the time were keen on killing Christians.

While you can kill a man you cannot kill the impressions and influences he made in his life and that is why a day is set aside every year to honor this Saint in countries all over the world from Eastern Europe to South America.  Not surprisingly one of the grandest and most decadent Saint Blaise celebrations are held every year on February 3rd in Paraguay.

The Paraguayan San Blas Festival

The history of San Blas day is as much a part of the celebration as the festivities themselves. After all, this is a religious holiday and many devout Catholics consider this day one of the holiest of the year.

If you do plan to be in Paraguay in early February head to Ciudad del Este where the biggest and brashest San Blas festival is held.

Since Saint Blaise was a physician specializing in ailments of the throat, the San Blas festivity in Paraguay begins with the blessing of the throat by ranking clergymen. Once your throat has been blessed, you can begin filling it with delicious Paraguayan cuisine. Food is a huge part of the San Blas festivity in Paraguay so be sure to leave plenty of room in your stomach for delectable dishes.

In Ciudad del Este lies the Cathedral of Saint Blaise and it is form this cathedral that much of the festivities emanate. There are parades held in his honor that are made to depict some of his more notable acts as a Bishop and leader in the Christian community in Armenia.

San Blas festivity in Paraguay

San Blas Festivity in Paraguay

While the actual Dia de San Blas falls on February 3rd, the San Blas festivity in Paraguay is a week-long festival. In addition to magnificent parades, specialty foods and religious rites, you will hear much traditional Paraguayan music and songs that commemorate this beloved patron saint of the country.

The San Blas festivity in Paraguay should surely be on your list of Hispanic festivals to experience and to find out more about the exciting festivals that Latin America has to offer check out my article on Hispanic holidays.

German Chilean Food

German Chilean Food

German Chilean food history is a study in harmony. Our world is so rife with conflict and confrontation that it can be easy to forget the things that all humans can bond over no matter where they are from. These bonding points include music, sport and of course food.

Whenever I think about the history of Chilean food, I am immediately warmed by the thought that the simple things in life are what truly make us human and of the same ilk.

Germany is located essentially on the other side of the planet from Chile but that did not matter when the first German settlers immigrated to Chile in the late 19th and early 20th century. These Germans brought with them the recipes of the father land and embraced the culinary practices of their adopted country.

A Bit of History of German Chilean Food

The history of Chilean food is inexorably tied to German culture. As I have already stated, the first German immigrants arrived on the shores of Chile between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. These European settlers made their communities in the Southern and as of yet un-established area of Chile.

The Germans thrived here and among their number were all kinds of tradesman, scientists, beer-brewers and of course chefs. Soon, the German community began to mingle and assimilate to the native Chileans and this is where the love affair between German and Chilean cuisine took place.

Today, a visit to Chile will undoubtedly include delving into the cooking practices of both Germany and Chile. You can sit down at a shcoperia (essentially a beer house) in Santiago and be treated to popular Chilean beer that was crafted by German brewmasters. You will also be treated to a menu that you may not expect to find in South America- menus that include German brats, hotdogs and sandwiches.

After all the influence the Germans had on Chilean dishes however, what can be easily eaten throughout Chile has a definite retention of Latin flare. In the end, German Chilean food is a perfect melding of the two styles and an altogether unique branch of cuisine that is a must for any exploratory diner.

The Food

Thankfully, pairing of German and Chilean foods has been refined over the centuries to a masterpiece medley of tasty entrees. For example, you will commonly find sauerkraut paired as a side to more traditional Chilean dishes like Pernil which is essentially a pork hock veiled in a fatty skin that hides a succulent and tender meat underneath.

German Chilean Food

German Chilean Food

Resembling something that Americans would recognize as meatloaf is German Roast or Asado Aleman. In Chilean restaurants, you will find this dish in menus that may be otherwise devoid of German-influenced dishes but it is well-worth a taste. It usually includes hardboiled egg and sometimes included within the actual loaf which is made of ground beef, you will find cooked carrots.

If you thought you had to travel to Germany for a unique Oktoberfest celebration think again. Many Chilean cities due to the large German community therein celebrate this German festival.  Should you happen to be in Chile during Oktoberfest, you can enjoy a Chilean dish that has been very Germanly dubbed Escalopa Kaiser. This dish is a breaded and fried sandwich with sliced beef, cheddar, ham and topped with another slice of beef.

Over the years, German-influenced dishes have been popularized in many South American countries including Brazil, adding to the extended palette of flavors that can be found throughout the Latin world. Chile and all of Latin America offer some of the most sought after dishes in the world and if you would like to learn more about them check out the article Latin Food.

Introducing the Colombian Chiva

Getting around in Colombia, thanks to La Chiva, has become as much a crash course in cultural heritage as it has a reliable means of getting from point A to point B. Should you ever find yourself meandering the streets of Madellín you will not need … [Continue reading]

Who Are Hispanic Millennials

There is quite a change in the cultural landscape on the horizon here in America. In just a few short years, Latino Millennials will dominate a huge portion of the U.S. population and with this upcoming surge in Hispanic influence comes an influx of … [Continue reading]

Top 10 Places to Visit in Quito Ecuador

The breadth and the volcanic landscape that surrounds Quito Ecuador will surely captivate you upon site when you visit this capital city seated high in the Andean mountain range. Aside from the geographic beauty of Quito there is much culture to take … [Continue reading]

Three Kings Day Traditions in the U.S.

For most communities in the United States, the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Day. But for Hispanics, there really are twelve (more) days of Christmas. They end the season with Three Kings Day traditions on … [Continue reading]

Burning the Muñeco: A New Year’s Celebration in Peru

Even for those of us blessed with good health and happiness, sometimes there are those years.  Hard years, challenging years – years that make the celebration of New Year’s Eve something particularly meaningful. If this has been one of those years … [Continue reading]

Hispanics and The Virgin Mary – Our Great Devotion

Have you ever wondered about the strong connection that Hispanics and the Virgin Mary have? Going beyond simple Catholic faith, Our Lady and Latinos have a special bond. Perhaps the most important reason that Latinos are so devoted to the Virgin … [Continue reading]