Rus Articles Journal

Mythology a mat of

For one it - “an overseas grass“, others consider it as a kind of tea, but neither the first, nor the second have no relation to truth. Actually a mat the holly prepares from the dried-up tree leaves. In Europe it is a little fans of drink - here it remains a wonder. And here inhabitants of Latin America - need air. For the centuries-old history a mat acquired myths, legends and rituals which non-compliance is perceived as an insult of traditions.

At the different people of America - different versions of an origin a mat. But they disperse only in details, and in the main thing agree: it was presented to people by inhabitants of heaven or their terrestrial deputies. It agrees one of legends, two goddesses who came back to Earth acted as benefactors. They were frightened by a jaguar, and the Indian passing by drove away an animal. In gratitude they also opened to it a secret of the magic drink satisfying thirst and increasing forces. And here Indians the guarani claim that the secret to them was revealed by god - the man. There is also a story about the decrepit sick old man and his beauty of the daughter which had to vegetate together with the ailing father far from the family. A certain shaman like her distress and taught to do curative tincture thanks to which the old man instantly got on feet, and both could return to native places. And according to fourth “option“, the meeting with the sorcerer cost to the girl life: it was so struck with its beauty that decided to turn it into a magnificent plant which infusion from leaves Indians began to drink to take off fatigue, to restore health and in general to find happiness.

of the Taboo

When Columbus peddled old stuff, for fans a mat cruel times came. In a pursuit of riches Spaniards absolutely destroyed habitual tenor of life of Indians. And the queen Isabella considered as the debt to care not only for prosperity of colonies, but also for rescue of the souls inhabiting them. And the galleons going to America behind jewelry began to deliver the whole armies of monks there - Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits. The policy of missionaries was simple: spreading Christianity, to get rid of everything that is connected with old traditions and beliefs. The turn and to a mat reached. At the beginning of the 17th century the prominent Jesuit Diego de Torres in Paraguay publicly declared it “drink of a devil“ and demanded to punish for the use a mat as well as for heresy.

However this order was executed by

exactly the opposite: Holy Fathers also conceived a liking for drink. Moreover, they initiated export it to Europe. The economic benefit won against fear. And it is clear. Far from the homeland, the deprived of the help from where that was, missionary settlements had to provide themselves to all necessary up to glass and paper on which purchase money was required. It turned out that a mat perfectly is suitable for export: production is simple, manages cheap, and it is possible to sell exotic “medicine“ extremely expensively.

But its popularity in the Old World lasted not for long: in the 19th century Latin America turned into the center of permanent war and revolution. Trade actually stopped. And interest to a mat died away: one European countries made a resolute choice for tea, others - in favor of coffee, and near such fashionable “rivals“ it was impossible to compete.

the Indian tree

Idea of what a mat - a grass, was generated too by Jesuits. They, without penetrating into preparation subtleties, drank it in finished form, and traded only in raw materials which to them were brought by Indians. Dried up a mat it is really similar to small cut grass though actually are the crushed leaves of an evergreen subtropical plant of Ilex paraguayensis. By the way, his closest relative a holly acutifoliate grows in Europe and even became a peculiar Christian symbol there. From darkly - green leaves of a holly with brightly - red berries decorate with wreaths houses for Christmas, for example, in England and Germany. Isn`t that so, this fact in itself dismisses charge of heresy and from Paraguayan “brother“?. This tree lives in the wild nature till 50 years and can reach 15 - 20 meters in height . Cora - white and smooth as at an ash-tree, and leaves have the size about 10 centimeters in length and 5 - in width. This look takes the fourth place among kofeinosoderzhashchy plants of the world after tea, coffee and cocoa. Production a mat in the countries of South America, generally in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, reaches nowadays 170 million kilograms a year.

But, despite natural survivability, in other regions of the world the tree did not get accustomed - it needs a special warm, humid climate and the soil rich with iron. Therefore it is possible to claim with confidence that where in the world you found a mat - it from the Latin American leaves is prepared.

It is simple and with taste

At peak of interest in drink it was tried “to be exposed“ as expensive and refined. Actually the most expensive in a mat - transportation, and the production technology is very simple so prime cost of this product is much cheaper, than tea or coffee.

At first leaves tear off

from a tree manually or by means of special cars. Both young, and old branches are used. The main thing - not to be overzealous: if “to shave a holly bare“, it will not manage to be restored and will quickly die.

the Following stage - drying. Earlier collected green material was maintained on the sun, but commercially it is unproductive therefore now use wood or electric hothouses where the raw materials are shaken up from time to time. The last is very important - in leaves there should not be a moisture. If at least one remains underdried, after a while it is necessary to throw out all bag - a mat will decay or will grow mouldy. At the final stage the finally dried material is crushed and packed up. Here, actually, and all - any difficulties.

But such simplicity it is with interest compensated by fancy rituals by which the zavarivaniye and the use a mat is followed.

In restaurant menus it is often placed in one section with tea, however both substances have practically nothing the general, except water. Let`s begin with the fact that the ware which Europeans use for the use of drinks - teapots, decanters, cups, glasses, - for a mat is no good. Best of all the special vessel from bottle pumpkin (a type of Lagenaria vulgaris) - so-called kalebas, or porongo is suitable for it. It has to be again - dry, but with porous walls which when filling with hot water slightly will inflate and will report to aroma of drink slightly earthy shade. New kalebas it is impossible to use at once. At first it should be prepared: to hammer a mat almost under a neck, to fill in with hot water and to leave for couple of days. Then to clear, again to hammer “chock-full“ with hot water and this time a small amount of strong alcohol (alcohol, traditional for Latin America, from cane sugar will be ideally suited, but it is possible to use also vodka). In several hours and this mix throw out, kalebas wash out, dry - and here it is now completely ready to “adulthood“.

do not feel sorry for tea leaves

This phrase approaches to a mat more, than tea. It is necessary to fill kalebas with dry raw materials at least half. Then the neck is densely closed a hand, pumpkin is overturned and several times vigorously stirred up. So small zavarochny “powder“ is closer to top, and large particles, on the contrary, at a bottom. Then the vessel is carefully returned in usual situation. It was necessary to insert into it a bombilla - the subject externally similar to a spoon, but in practice - straw “hybrid“ with a sieve. Do bombillas usually of metal. In the top part there is slightly flattened mouthpiece, and below - a removable detail with holes: it is supposed that through this filter there will pass only the filtered liquid.


Among fans a mat conduct never-ending disputes on how to insert a bombilla: in dry tea leaves or a mat it is necessary to moisten slightly previously with warm water and to wait two - three minutes until it is absorbed. However, in both cases the main thing - to thrust the tool as it is possible more deeply. For this purpose also shake kalebas: now on a bottom there were only large particles which will not pass through the filter.

“is Less obligatory“ for

, unlike a kalebas and a bombilla, a special teapot with hot water, similar to a bird with a huge curved beak. It is called a peahen (in translation from Spanish - “turkey“). However, nothing terrible happens if to warm liquid in a usual teapot. Look at such derogation from rules indulgently.

At last, everything is ready for a zavarivaniye. But also at this stage a mat considerably differs from tea: it is impossible to pour into it at all boiled water but only the water warmed to of 70 - 80 degrees. How to determine the correct temperature? If there is no thermometer, then, having boiled water, it is left to cool down minutes on 15 - 20. And the most “initial“ method - to splash a little more hotly than liquid on a floor and on a sound to understand whether enough it cooled down. Naturally, the parquet, linoleum and a laminate for this purpose will not approach - a floor has to be stone. The question of temperature is basic, compromises cannot be: too cold a mat threatens with diarrhea, too hot - strongly tastes bitter and makes sick.

So, having made mix in due form, at once begin to suck through a bombilla, periodically adding in kalebas hot water. If everything turned out as it is necessary, drink will not taste bitter, and will seem slightly sweetish rather.

have no place to Hurry

the Mat in five minutes is not drunk. Czechoslovak travelers Jiri Ganzelka and Miroslav Zikmund write in the book “There, behind the River Argentina“:“ If the resident of Argentina or Paraguay has to go to work at 6 o`clock in the morning, he gets up in 4 to have at least an hour and a half on drink a mat. This solemn ceremony allows anything, only not haste“.

I though Julio Cortazar called it drink “for those who are lonely and sad“, it is perfectly drunk also in the company. On big receptions with participation of unfamiliar people to everyone the separate small tykvochka with a bombilla moves. And in the bosom of the family and close friends it is accepted to make the general kalebas. Someone one undertakes functions of a zavarshchik a mat - a sevador, he the first removes test and if with quality it is satisfied, passes round pumpkin. Sevador has to add in kalebas water in time. He decides when it is time to change tea leaves.

It is frequent to foreigners the manner to suck through the general bombilla seems unhygienic, and they strive to come on a visit with the tubule. But for Argentineans, Uruguayans and Paraguayans this custom as any another symbolizes friendship, warmth and trust. So individual “initiative“ can be apprehended by the owner as offense.

besides, it is good to know some nuances: the peahen cannot be taken the left hand; the guest kalebas is given a bombilla to his party; it is impossible to move a bombilla, stirring slowly with it tea leaves; and it is even necessary to thank the owner only at the end of a ceremony, but not every time when you are handed kalebas (having thanked, you can not count on an additive).

Earlier, in the 19th century, such unwritten rules was even more so young men and girls from conservative Catholic families even submitted with the help a mat each other the ciphered love messages (something like the Victorian language of flowers). Very sweet a mat meant “to you it is time to talk to my parents“, with cinnamon - “my thoughts are occupied by you“, with the bombilla turned in other party, - “I despise you“...

of the Variation on a subject

But rules without any exception does not exist. And the they are more strict, the more there are roundabout maneuvers. Fighters for purity of rituals try not to notice how these rituals are continually broken. In recent years across all Latin America sales a mat grow in bags which is drunk from usual cups, and also disposable kalebas and bombillas from plastic. An opposite tendency - production of collection kalebas from porcelain, an ivory, precious metals and even painted wooden...

still many prefer to

A this drink with additives now: so it turns out less bitter and more nutritious. The most widespread additives - a lemon, sugar, honey. Drink with treacle, the candied orange-peels, milk or cream, the burned sugar which is shaken up by egg less often. Paraguay sometimes adds the herbs appointed by the sorcerer - the herbalist (it you will find in each village) for treatment or prevention of diseases.

One more option for hot weather - cold a mat, filled in with ice water with fruit juice (it turns out so-called a terer).

At last, we will notice, as it is far outside Latin America there are nevertheless two countries where a mat it got successfully accustomed and drunk every day. It is Syria (the largest importer of leaves of a holly in the world) and Lebanon. There drink extended in the 19th century thanks to immigrants from - for Atlantic. Today the culture a mat here is supported by Druzes - the ethnic group professing special branch of Islam. Their leader Waleed Dzhumblat often appears on public, sucking a bombilla.

to Drink or not to drink


physicians do not give a definite answer to

On this question concerning a mat. On the one hand, it is well-known that it contains a set of useful substances - vitamins A, In, With, E, and also alkaloids and minerals (in particular, so phosphorus, necessary for cerebration). Not for nothing the Argentina shepherds - the gaucho for months eat one beef, washing down it a mat, and perfectly feel, without testing any lack of nutrients. However in drink there is a lot of caffeine, exciting nervous system and increasing pressure (producers sometimes use cunning and call the caffeine which is contained in a mat, mateiny, but the essence from it does not change).

another is more important than

: The international agency on researches of cancer (IARC) brought hot a mat in a so-called black list where substances which can potentially be cancerogenic enter. In this sense the Latin American broth is equated to creosote and insecticides. The researches conducted in Montevideo were the cause. According to them, perhaps, there is a communication between the use hot a mat and a gullet cancer. However, it is highlighted that it is only about very hot drink which and to drink - there is no need because if it is made by boiled water, it turns out bitterly and tastelessly...