USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘paraguay’
general
Legends
Narrative

The Legend of Kurupi

Abstract:

This piece is about a legend from Paraguay called Kurupi who has a long penis and uses it to impregnate girls while they sleep.

Main Piece:

“T: So my dad’s from Paraguay, and here I am, this was maybe five or six years ago. And I’m just walking around in this village place we were just passing through. And all of the sudden, I see this really weird looking statue, it’s made out of wood and not really tall… maybe four feet high. But it’s basically this really creepy looking dude with… a really long downstairs region. Basically, he had very long genitalia that was wrapped around his waist and I was very confused. I asked my father what is this? Why? I thought it was some kind of joke or something. Like some weird tourist gift thing and I was confused. But then my father told me it was some kind of creature from the jungle. I was very confused, but then I googled it the next day and was like “wow this is a real thing.” So apparently what this thing is called is Kurupi. Basically what he is, is this evil guy in the jungle who had… basically he was the king of the jungle, he had dominion over the lands. But he also happened to have a very long penis [laughter]. And basically it had the capability of going inside someone’s house while he was on the outside. So the legend goes that women when they were sleeping in bed could be impregnated during their sleep! By this guy. And sometimes it was used by adulterous women to excuse illegitimate children and their cheating. Also used as a tale to scare young girls because it would say you know if you’re doing bad this guy will impregnate you in your sleep and basically this guy was also used as a possible explanation for some disappearances of young women for his own purposes. But basically yeah, it was a curious piece of my own culture that I found out.”

Context:

The informant is a 19 year old student from USC who has lived in many different places growing up. His father is from Paraguay and his mother is from Lebanon. His family currently resides in Washington DC, but he is not a full citizen yet. He grew up living in Bolivia, Paraguay, and the United States, moving around due to his father’s job. He views himself as an American, but values his cultural background as well.

Analysis:

I think the informant touched on how this legend can be seen in society and the underlying views on females it brings out in Paraguayan culture. The fact that the creature is literally raping girls in the story, and is still viewed as a revered “king of the jungle” already shows how the gender dynamics in Paraguay are set up. Though it is humorous that the creature has a long penis, the idea that he takes girls for his own pleasure is disturbing as well. I thought it was interesting that the informant brought up the fact that adulterous women use him as an excuse for when they become pregnant. This was interesting because in the story the females are being raped – almost like it is preferable to an adulterous woman.

For another version and more information of this story, visit these links:

http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=37051

http://www.native-languages.org/guarani-legends.htm

https://paranormalhub.org/kurupi/

Folk medicine
general
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Legends
Narrative

Chuita

Main Piece: The informant’s grandmother, whom many call Chuita, was a midwife and hero in the small town of Caazapa, Paraguay. Chuita only went to school up 1st grade (a very baseline education) and, instead of becoming a nun and living in a convent, she asked her aunt about how she could help the town. Learning under her aunt and looking at her own vagina in the mirror, Chuita learned female anatomy and became the town’s resident midwife, as the nearest hospital was miles and miles away. Using herbal medicine, she delivered over 600 babies without fail in her lifetime, never accepting any form of payment from the poor mothers she helped. “She literally delivered a whole town.” Later, Chuita received an honorary degree from National Health Ministry of Paraguay for having safely delivered more than 300 children during here life in Caazapa, but these were cases that were traced and recorded. “Chuita knows that she delivered well over 600 babies, never losing one. She had an extraordinary faith that her purpose was to serve others through God.” By the end of her lifetime, she was the town’s carpenter, farmer, engineer, civil advocate, emergency first responder, policeman, welfare service provider, tailor, chef, and household organizer. Her and her husband were often considered to be the local king and queen of their town.

Context: The informant (OC) is half Paraguayan and half American, and she speaks both Spanish and English. Her mother immigrated to the U.S. as a young adult, so the informant is first generation, but the rest of her mother’s side of the family resides in their home city – Caazapa, Paraguay – and are very well-known in their community. Her father’s side of the family are “classically Jewish” people from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York. Although she is not religious herself, her upbringing was culturally Jewish and Catholic. Our discussion took place in her home in Orlando, Florida while her mom made us tea and lunch in the background. The informant cites the following legend as the basis for her family’s legacy today, with her larger-than-life grandmother being their small Paraguayan town’s hero. This story was recounted to OC at her high school graduation party from her cousin, who believed that the informant was of age to learn of her roots and the lore that has kept their family devout in their values of hard work and faith. This legend is the basis of the matriarchal power that has been passed down through each generation in OC’s family. In fact, this story served as the inspiration of OC’s tattoo over her ribs, which depicts the mountains bordering Caazapa to honor her roots and larger-than-life abuela.

Personal thoughts: While it’s clear that not all of the astounding facets of this iconic grandma cannot be proven to be true (i.e. the 300 recorded vs. 600 theoretical babies delivered), this legend is rooted in the firm truth of her widely-known feats. The way OC tells this story is reminiscent of ancient legends with a heroic character conquering the impossible; one woman with barely any education becomes her town’s jack-of-all-trades through learning from the little resources she had access to (her aunt, who was her mentor, and her own mirror).Even the way OC phrases her grandmother as the town’s “queen” demonstrates her hero status among her people. Chuita, in typical hero fashion, overcomes her circumstances without complaint and rises to the occasion, setting a legacy of matriarchy and the power of perseverance for her family and town.

Childhood
Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative

Jasy Jatere

My friend grew up in Paraguay and has a lot of myths and legends that stem from the Guarani tradition.

Friend: “The Jasy Jatere is the God of the siesta. I heard about him from my grandmother. Apparently he would steal kids who snuck off during the siesta, which is a nap most people take during the day. I think the story was told to keep kids from leaving their houses while their parents were sleeping. Like don’t go away or the Jasy Jatere will get you!”

Me: What did he look like?

Friend: “He was supposed to look like a kid. He has blonde hair and is pretty small-framed. But he’s actually a full-grown man. Kids are supposed to think he’s their friend, he plays with them and feeds them fruit and honey, and then, according to my grandmother, he imprisons the kids and pokes out their eyes so that they cannot see to find their way home.”

Me:Did it scare you into napping during the siesta?

Friend: “Yeah I was pretty freaked out by Jasy Jatere. I definitely thought he would come and get me if I wasn’t napping. He’s sort of like the boogeyman of Paraguay.”

Analysis:The Jasy Jatere being a “Paraguyayan Boogeyman” is interesting. In some ways, it is creepy that parents would try to scare their children into staying at home and trying to sleep. Most of the time, these fears dissolve without much consequence. A child grows up and learns not to fear the Jatere, or the Boogeyman. Another connection that could be made to the Jasy Jatere is Peter Pan. It is the same archetype: a boyish creature who seems to be immortal, coming when children are without their parents, to take them away to a far off place– usually never to return home. Many cultures have these types of stories, and I think they play into our fear (and curiosity) of being taken from a loving home  with one of our kind who has learned to survive without the support of parents. transcoder

Adulthood
Folk Beliefs
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Legends
Narrative

Kurupi

My friend from Paraguay has a lot of folklore about the seven Guarani monsters and the legends behind them. The Kurupi was the strangest of all the seven that he told me about.

Friend: “There are several Guarani monsters I learned about growing up in Paraguay. One of them is the Kurupi, a weird gremlin-like dude with a really long penis. I think he represents the spirit of fertility or something. ”

Me: Were there any stories about him?

Friend:  “Yes. In ‘the old days’ a lot of people would say (if they had an unwanted pregnancy) that Kurupi had impregnated them without even entering their home. For example, if you were a single woman or if you had cheated on your husband and didn’t want to get into trouble, you would blame it on Kurupi. His penis is so long that he can go through windows and doors in the night. There are also a lot of stories about the Kurupi taking young women and raping them.”

Me: Did you ever believe the stories?

Friend: “No, I never really believed in the Kurupi. Mostly he’s just a funny little demon that we’d laugh about in grade school.” 

Analysis: The Kurupi is certainly the strangest looking creature I’ve ever seen. Besides the initial hilarity of his appearance, the tale of the Kurupi is creative and disturbing. In a place and time where modern medicine cannot explain pregnancies and sex, legends will replace science. This is a clear example where women would become pregnant (by someone other than their intended) and the only way to protect their virtue would be to blame it on the Kurupi. In many ways, belief in a creature like this can settle marital disputes before they even arise. Additionally, however, the Kurupi could have taken the blame for many rape incidents– when a real person was the perpetrator.

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Folk Beliefs
Foodways
general
Holidays
Magic
Protection

Carrulim

My friend from Paraguay told me about this special drink which wards off illness.

Me: What is it?

Friend:”Carrulim is a drink that’s made from sugar cane alcohol, lemon, and some other herbs and spices. It started with the medicine men in the Guarani tribe, which is the tribe of people native to Paraguay before the Spanish arrived.”

Me: When do you drink it?

Friend:”Well I don’t drink it, I think it’s mostly old people and people who live in the country. But it’s only for the first day of August, because August is the month where the weather is worst and a lot of people get sick. There’s a saying that goes: August is the month when skinny cows die.” So yeah if you drink it, it’s only in August.”

Me: Have you ever tried it?

Friend: “Yeah. It’s a disgusting drink. I thought it sounded good but it tasted so bad. I probably will like it when I’m an old man- then again, I’ll “need” it when I’m an old man so I make it through August!”

Analysis: This custom harkens back to a time when people were worried about the harsh weather and how it would effect them. Today, we can control our living conditions with a button (at least in more modern countries) but back before this, people had to ward off illness any way they could. Today this custom serves more as a protection or good luck charm for older people. Perhaps it is psychosomatic– if you drink this, you will believe you won’t get sick, and if you don’t drink it, you will worry about being sick.

general
Material

Ñandutí

My friend from Paraguay showed me a traditional decorative cloth that he brought from home, called the nanduti.

Anthony: My mom gave me this embroidered cloth to have while I’m away at college.

Me: What does nanduti mean?

Anthony: It’s the guarani word for spiderweb, which makes sense because it kind of looks like a spiderweb. Most people just put them on tables or drape them around the house. Under a cup.

Analysis:

The Nanduti is a symbol of home for Anthony because of its beauty and its unique appearance. Like having an American flag in a foreign land, it is a reminder of where he comes from. Additionally, the Nanduti looks like a spiderweb because there is a myth about a young girl who found her dead beloved on the eve of their wedding covered in spiderwebs.

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