8 junio, 2024

7 Customs of the Amazon Region of Colombia

The customs of the Amazon region of Colombia They are closely linked to the dynamics of their environment and the particular characteristics of their population, such as their eating, social and family customs, their festivals, among others.

The Amazon region is a large natural reserve located in the southeast of Colombia, in which almost a million inhabitants reside, distributed in the departments of Amazonas, Guaviare, Guainía, Putumayo, Vaupés and Caquetá.

The relative isolation of the Amazonian landscape has allowed the preservation of regional customs, but urbanity and modernity have modified them over time.

Customs describe specific practices of a social group, which are generally passed from one generation to the next as acquired habits that are practiced frequently and naturally.

In the Colombian Amazon region, ethnographic populations and social groups differentiated from each other coexist, since there are indigenous, non-indigenous and mestizos whose life customs differ from each other.

However, the customs of the Colombian Amazon are deeply influenced by the traditional ways of life of the population of ethnic origin, as well as by nature.

This has allowed both indigenous and non-indigenous customs to find a middle ground.

Main customs of the Amazon region of Colombia

1- Gastronomy

The food customs are considered very exotic due to the preparation and the type of food they use.

For example, they consume smoked boa loin (a species of giant snake) prepared with lemon, vinegar and potatoes.

They also eat mojojoy, a large white palm worm which they eat live, fried or roasted.

They also eat live manivara ants just taken from the nest, or dehydrated and ground. They also consume turtle, mico (primate), tapir, capybara, tubers, bananas and native fruits of the jungle.

They accompany the fish with casabe, a kind of tortilla or bread prepared with wild or poisonous cassava flour, known as fariña or mañoco. This is obtained through a special processing technique that nullifies its toxicity.

As for drinks, they usually drink chivé, a refreshing drink made with fariña, panela honey and honey.

2- Festivals, fairs and parties

Celebrating parties is a custom with ancestral and mixed origins, since some are indigenous and others colonial.

For example, the week before Ash Wednesday, the Indigenous Carnivals are celebrated, with parades, songs and allegorical dances.

On the other hand, the Integration Festival of the Colonies is celebrated annually in October to recognize the typical cultural expressions that the colonists brought to the region.

3- Social and family customs

In general, in indigenous reservations, political and social organization systems called cacicazgos are imposed.

It is a hierarchical system of social relations governed by a cacique, healer or leader of the reservation.

The hierarch imposes the rules, while the other members comply with them, dedicating themselves to their assigned tasks.

4- Religious beliefs

In each settlement there are magical-religious specialists, known as shamans or healers.

They perform mystical invocations combined with botanical preparations for the prevention and cure of diseases.

They also carry out celebrations of distinctive rituals for initiations, marriages, harvests, death, among others.

5- Crafts

Most of the Amazonian indigenous people are involved in one way or another with the typical crafts of the region.

Some get the natural elements necessary to make the craft products, others manufacture them using inherited traditional techniques and others market them.

For example, in Leticia the Huitoto and Ticuna ethnic groups plant native species to produce fibers, barks and vegetable dyes that they use to make objects that travelers usually take as souvenirs, such as ceramic vessels and sculptures in balso wood or palo sangre.

6- Dances

The bambuco, the dance of the sanjuaneros, the zuyuco, the dance of the newlyweds or the bestknatè are some examples of the thousands of dance performances that exist in this Colombian region.

They are usually dances of a profane nature and with a lot of spirituality, typical of ancestral rituals.

7- Traditional medicine

In the Amazon jungles of Colombia there are indigenous villages that still make ancestral medicines, as well as the practice of rituals carried out by shamans to scare away bad omens or avoid illness and suffering.

The medicines are created from the master plants of the region, such as ayahuasca, soursop leaves, mucuracá, yerbaluisa, dandelion or rue.


Colombian info. (s/f) FOLKLOR AND TRADITIONS. The Amazon region. Digital portal Colombia.com. Interlatin Corporation. Extracted from: colombia.com
Juan Jose Vieco. (2001). DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURE IN THE COLOMBIAN AMAZON. Public Health Journal. Vol. 3, No. 1. National University of Colombia. Extracted from revistas.unal.edu.co

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