Episode CVI – 106: Native tree gourds or calbas

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Since the beginning of time people have collected and selected all kinds of objects and things for an infinite use and reasons; plants were used to build shelters, bridges and transportation, for food, medicine, color pigments, to weave clothing and ropes, for musical instruments, tools and weapons, and all sorts of unimaginable things. The gourd was used a storage container, a gourd may hold harvested fruits, nuts, and crops or as a tool to serve and transport food and liquids.

Dried gourds where a stick is inserted through as a handle and filled with seeds as a shaker are called maracas, used to keep the rhythm during festivals and magic’s ceremonies. There are approximately 850 species of plants which fruits, offer well-known natural light and beautiful biodegradable containers. Some offers a great variety of colors, others had flavor in a variety of shapes and sizes and shape; Some grew on trees others grew on vines from the spherical to the bottle-shaped, some were edibles. Many originated in Mexico and Peru. Different gourds form different species were very much sought after and appreciated in Europe for practical and decorative purposes. Like many religious and metaphysical symbols, the gourd has a dual purpose: the gourd is represented as a maraca and the womb which carries seeds of fertility, here by representing a culturally symbolic musical instrument. When a gourd is used as a water container, it may also be considered a carrier of life. Without water there is no life. Unlike a harvested crop which must be uprooted from the earth and loses its life force, water is in a continuous state of living. Long before the Europeans arrived the Guarani drank mate, a South-American tea, in containers made of gourds where they mixed medicinal and aromatic herbs.This is how different gourds and calbas play important roles in different cultures. In the Taino creation myth it represents disbelief and the loss of faith and was used in the divination rites of the TaĂ­nos, in this tribe there is a story that tells that the Tainos in the desire to ‘see’ Yayael murdered warrior who they were invoking in a ritual believing that Yayael was physically inside the calbas, for this reason, happy in their eagerness to grab him, they spilled its contents. When they realize that the contents of the gourd have turned into a fish, they give in to physical temptation and ate the fish. In this first myth, the pumpkins are represented as a tomb for dead beings and a womb for living beings.

To get to know more over Aruba’s and its origins, its animals and culture, we highly recommend you to book your visit for our renowned cultural encounter session has been entertaining curious participants for decades. Mail us at etnianativa03@gmail.com or WhatsApp 297 592 2702 to confirm your participation. Our facilities and activities take place close to high rise hotels.