· De Sandrine Desrosiers-Champoux
Mate: Anchored in values of community and sharing.
Sharing: At the heart of mate consumption.
Yerba mate has been enjoyed for centuries by Latin Americans. It’s origin is from south of Brazil, Paraguay and the north of Argentina. Consuming mate has become an important traditional act in the daily life of our friends of the south. Although native to the countries mentioned above, the consumption of mate has spread in South America, as well as in Central America, the Middle East, Europe and recently in North America. Appreciated for its unique taste, mate has become one of the most consumed drinks in South America for its numerous benefits. It has become rooted in the values of countries consuming it.
The method of consumption, anchored in a convivial act.
The method of consumption of yerba mate is quite unique. It takes more time and involves more preparation steps than any other drinks. In Latin America, mate consumption is rooted in community values* and is synonymous with human sharing and connection. Traditionally shared with friends and family, sharing a gourd is the perfect time to exchange ideas, thoughts, and discuss freely on different topics. When you arrive at someone's house in South America, "unos mates? "(Let's drink some mate?) will be the first question you’ll be asked; as a sign of respect and hospitality.
The Cebador: Master of the ceremony.
The person in charge of the infusion, also called the Cebador, is the one who prepares the gourd. After preparing and drinking the first infusion, the Cebador adds water again and then pass it to his right with whom he shares the gourd. When the latter has finished drinking the infusion, he continues sharing the gourd until there is nothing left to be infused. The yerba (the leaves) in the gourd can be brewed several times, up to 20 times. Traditionally, if a person hands the gourd to the Cebador and says "Gracias", it means that he doesn’t want to receive the gourd again. The consumption of mate is therefore firmly rooted in the desire to spend time together. The sharing of mate shows an importance given to the fraternity surrounding its consumption.
The origins of mate, an explanation of its sharing values.
Mate has become anchored in the values of the Latin communities. Indigenous people evolve into a slower lifestyle than North American. The community aspect is omnipresent in its Latin communities. Individuals living in societies depends on each other. The way of bargaining, communicating, working and evolving within its societies requires interaction with members of society.
Values that are very different from those in North America.
The consumption of mate teaches us to slow down, but also to give more importance to our community. Wouldn’t it be the time for us to take inspiration from our neighbours to the south, and took the time to get together and enjoy the moment? And why not a gourd at the same time?