Intangible Cultural Heritage
(Español) Te invitamos a conocer parte de todas las manifestaciones de la Vida Patagona en Aysén. Artesanía, Refranes, Juegos, Gastronomía, Fiestas y Tradiciones.
Aysén’s culture is a blend of different traditions brought by the pioneers who had previously settled in Argentina and also by those who arrived from Chiloé, who also brought with them all their building techniques. That blend of peoples and the isolation of the young region was what gave life to Aysen’s culture.
Do not miss the opportunity to see all the creations and expressions of our ancestors who inhabited this territory. Among them, there are traces of archaeological, ethnographic, natural and historical remains that constitute important collections for science and for the conservation of cultural diversity in Carretera Austral.
Here’s a little preview of the traditions that you may experience in Aysén Patagonia Watch Video
What could be better than enjoying a great Patagonian roast in Aysén, surrounded by wonderful landscapes and a feast that offers a guilty pleasure for all palates?
A roasted lamb, goat or boar prepared on a catering cross, accompanied by some sopaipillas and a good mate, invite you to enjoy the very best of Aysén, of its people and of good catering.
Mate tea, a drink brought by the pioneers who came to this lovely region from Argentina, is a typical drink in Aysén, which is generally shared between two or more people. It is preferred due to its quick and easy preparation. You can drink it bitter, sweet, with milk, with medicinal herbs or with lemon or orange peel. You can also drink it at breakfast, at lunch, at tea time, at dinner or at whichever time of the day one chooses. It is customary to have mate with “Fried Cakes.”
There are many rituals around mate, which you must take into account when drinking this energizing tea. For example, you should only say thank you when you do not wish to continue drinking, otherwise you will communicate that you do not wish to drink any more after the first round. Likewise, you should never move the “bombilla” (metal straw) in the mate, as it is understood as an offense to the “cebador” (the person in charge of pouring the mate and the water in the gourd.)
The territory also offers endemic products such as Nalca (gunnera tinctoria,) zarzaparrilla (rough bindweed), rhubarb and rosehip, which give you the possibility of tasting natural juices of unique flavours. The success of traditional celebrations and other festivities that are focused on local cuisine, such as the Fiesta del Pesca’o Frito (Fried Fish Feast) in Puerto Cisnes or the Beer Fest in Puerto Aysén, as well as the rising demand for restaurants and regional products, have led to a growth in supply and in the interest of those who travel the Aysén region.
We also recommend that in your visit you take the opportunity to taste some of the local dishes, such as Curanto, Ceviche or Cazuela de Cholga Seca, which will be unforgettable experiences in your adventure through Carretera Austral.
List of typical dishes of the Aysén region:
|Pescado Frito (Fried fish)||Typical preparation of the coast of Aysén, it is the dish that inspired one of the traditional celebrations. It can be prepared with hake, conger eel or sea bass.||Regional coastline|
|Asado Parado de Cordero (Roasted lamb on a catering cross)||Slow cooked lamb on a catering cross, for 3 to 4 hours, smeared with a traditional sauce to prevent the meat from drying. It is recommended to start the fire at least half an hour before the roast to achieve a better cooking temperature using coals.||In most of the region.|
|Asado de Sierra al Palo (Spit roasted sawfish)||To make a spit-roasted sawfish, the fish should not have been caught more than 24 hours in advance, otherwise, the meat breaks up. It is important to hold it properly with wooden stakes and jonquil leaves. It is accompanied by Chapaleles (a Chilean dumpling.)||Melinka and surroundings|
|Grilled Hake Fillet||It is a tasty and healthy dish that is prepared very quickly. It must be well seasoned on both sides and left to rest. Add the olive oil, and place the hake in the centre of a preheated skillet. Cook for six minutes on each side.||Regional coastline.|
|Salmon “a lo Pobre”||It is a variation of the typical “Lomo a lo Pobre” (Steak,) but with fresh salmon. It is accompanied by french fries, grilled onion and fried eggs.||Regional coastline|
|Chochoca Melinkana||A huge bread made on a stake, traditional from Chiloé. It consists of a giant rolling pin wrapped with strips of dough, made from potatoes and flour, which is roasted on coal and then filled with chicharrones (pork rinds.)||Melinka|
|Tortillas made from Puyes||Puyes are tiny long fish, similar to eels. The fish are seasoned and mixed with peppers, then they are added to a batter and fried on a pan on both sides.||Regional coastline|
|Calafate Sour (cocktail drink)||It is a Patagonian variation of the traditional pisco sour. Calafate is a berry with great antibacterial and anti-cancerous properties. A concentrated calafate juice is added to the traditional sour recipe.||In most of the Hotels and Restaurants of the region|
|Pickled Hare with Rice||This preparation is an excellent way to try hare. It is very easy to find throughout the region, because lots of people go hunting for hares for personal consumption.||In most of the region.|
|Cazuela de Cordero (Lamb casserole)||It is a variation of the beef casserole, made with lamb, given that it is a meat largely consumed in the region, especially during the summer.||In most of the region.|
|Chivo a la Greda (Goat cooked on a clay pot)||Goat meat is delicious and soft. The secret is to use a young animal and to know how to season it properly.||General Carrera Lake Basin|
|Cherry Sour Cocktail||This preparation is made with cherries from Chile Chico valley and Bahía Jara, where they are popular for their quality. It can be prepared with cherry juice or liquefied preserves.||Chile Chico valley and Bahía Jara.|
|Oven roasted Goat Leg||Tasty dish that is prepared on a clay baking tray. It is prepared with 3 or 4 goat legs that should be previously well washed to remove some of the fat. It is seasoned with salt and placed in the oven.||In most of the region.|
|Carne de Cordero Mechada (Slow cooked Lamb)||Carne Mechada made with lamb requires several days of preparation, which are worth the wait. You can try it in delicious sandwiches in many restaurants.||In most of the region.|
|Raspberry Mistella||Sweet raspberry liqueur, which is normally prepared in Patagonian homes and can now be found in some restaurants.||From Coyhaique to Cochrane.|
|Risotto with Morillas (Risotto with morels)||Exquisite risotto made with this mushroom that grows near lenga trees and ñirre shrubs. It has a high nutritional value since it provides vitamin B. This mushroom is picked in springtime.||Villa Ortega, Ñirehuao, Coyhaique, Cochrane, Villa O’Higgins.|
|Asado al Palo de Chivo con cuero (Roasted goat with the skin)||It is recommended to cook a goat of approximately 10 kilos using hard firewood such as ñirre. It must be seasoned with brine while roasting. Cooking time takes around 3 to 4 hours.||In most of the region, mostly in rural areas.|
|Conserva de Nalca en Almíbar (Chilean rhubarb preserved in sugar syrup)||Nalca (giant gunnera or Chilean rhubarb) is found throughout Carretera Austral. To prepare, the stem must be peeled, cut it into slices, placed in a jar and covered with sugar syrup. Another way to eat Nalca is peeling the stem and adding salt.||In most of the region.|
|Corinto Kuchen||Kuchen prepared with sarsaparilla, also known as corinto in the area (Ribes rubrum). Its flavour is similar to redcurrant, which contrasts very well with the sweetness of the preparation.||In cities with steppe climate, such as Coyhaique, Cochrane, among others.|
|Morilla Quiche||Savory tart prepared with Morchella (morel), a wild mushroom that grows in the Patagonia.||Villa Ortega, Ñirehuao, Coyhaique, Cochrane.|
|Calafate Mousse||Delicious dessert prepared with calafate berry, which according to the popular myth, “whoever eats calafate returns to Patagonia.”||In most of the region.|
|Cazuela de Cholga (Magellan mussel casserole)||A delicious casserole to regain energy after travelling and visiting the various attractions. It is prepared with cholgas (magellan mussels) collected from the region’s seaside.||Regional coastline|
|Torta Frita (Bread dough deep fried in animal fat)||Torta Frita is similar to sopapillas, but the preparation is more rustic. It is done with bread dough cut into triangles or rhomboids which are quickly fried until brown. It is ideal to accompany a good mate.||In most of the region.|
If you want to know and try these dishes while you travel through Carretera Austral, we invite you to learn a little more about the regional cuisine.
Regional artisans practice various trades, such as pottery, ceramics, basketry, carpentry, jewelry, saddlery, works with fish-leather and textiles; hence, displaying the vast array of rich materials and knowledge existent in the Aysén territory.
Regional crafts are inspired by the customs, traditions and natural surroundings of the area, as well as the native peoples. Some of the local crafts that stand out are the pots of Rio Ibañez, produced in several spots within this destination, such as Villa Cerro Castillo, Levican Peninsula and Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez. The latter is where artisans have achieved the greatest development and where there are a greater number of potteries. Clay is cooked in clay ovens, achieving a smooth brown tone, which highlights the red drawings that represent Tehuelche pictographs. They are widely seen in this area of Patagonian steppes, which these indigenous people inhabited thousands of years ago.
You may find this handcrafts in some of the regional craft centres:
Coyhaique: Artesanos de Paseo Horn.
Puerto Aysén: Galería de Artesano in Chindo Vera street.
Puerto Chacabuco: in the domes before reaching the port.
Puerto Ibáñez: in Taller Nuestra Señora del Trabajo, at Padre Antonio Ronchi 359, in addition to other independent workshops.
Cochrane: Mercado Municipal Tamango, located in Parque Vicente Previske no number.
More Information at artesanosdeaysen.cl
Traditional festivals, as the name suggests, celebrate the customs of an area or location. Often times they celebrate the foundation day of a town. In these festivities there are a series of typical and/or characteristic events of the area, such as the local cuisine, rodeos, typical games, crafts, regional music and the traditional or old-fashioned techniques or skills, such as the sheep shearing event in Cochrane. In summary, traditional festivals concentrate all the cultural activities in a couple of days.
Down below, you can find a calendar with the traditional festivals held in the Aysén region:
|TRADITIONAL FESTIVALS CALENDAR|
|The Aysén Region has an undeniable cultural exchange, due to the geographical proximity with the Argentinian border. Many of our traditions are part of the expressions and customs of both countries.
The destination “Aysén Patagonia” invites you to participate in all its Traditional Festivals, that take place throughout the region; this way you will be able to learn all about our culture, from “jineteadas” (similar to bronc riding,) minga (voluntary group work,) folklore, traditional festivals, cuisine and crafts.
|Tortel: Semana del Maderero de Tortel (Lumberman’s Week)
Arroyo El Gato: Acopio de Lana (Wool Gathering)
Chile Chico: Town Anniversary; Chile Chico Week
Villa O´Higgins: Encuentro Costumbrista “Tropeando pa’ no Olvidar” (“Herding to Remember” – Festival)
Chile Chico: Festival de la Voz Chile Chico (Singing Festival)
Tortel: Gran Fiesta Tradicional Campera (Great Traditional Country Festival)
Puerto Puyuhuapi: Semana Puyuhuapi (Puyuhuapi Week)
Raúl Marín Balmaceda: Semana Marinence (Sea Week), Anniversary
Lago Atravesado: Encuentro Costumbrista “Tradiciones y Costumbres de Repollal Alto” (“Repollal Alto’s Traditions and Customs” – Festival)
Puerto Cisnes: Fiesta del Pesca’o Frito (Fried Fish Feast)
Cochrane: Ruta del Huemul (Huemul’s Route)
Bahía Murta: Explora Murta (Explore Murta)
Villa Mañihuales: Gran Jineteada Villa Mañihuales (Villa Mañihuales’s Great Jineteada Contest)
Valle Simpson: Encuentro Costumbrista (Traditional Festival)
Cerro Castillo: Encuentro Costumbrista Cerro Castillo (Cerro Castillo Traditional Festival)
Puerto Aysén: Fiesta Costumbrista Puerto Aysén (Puerto Aysén Traditional Festival)
Coyhaique: IV Festival de Teatro Patagonia en Escena (Theatre Festival)
La Junta, Sector Valle Mirta: Fiesta de los Valles (The Valleys Festival)
Folkloric rhythms in continental Aysén derived from productions that were mostly originated in Argentina, from 1906 until our days.
The valse and valseado, used to be and continue being as popular as rancheras, and have followed the same process of folklorization. Currently, the Polka and the Pasodoble have yielded their popularity to the Corrido; although, older country men, in traditional parties, still prefer the first two.
Chamamé: original from Corrientes, abandoned the place where it could see the birth of dawn, while contemplating the tree that gives flavour to mate, in order to move to Patagonia and liven up the bonfires of those who called it their own, for its lively and energetic rhythm. The dance steps differ from those practiced in Corrientes and other Argentinian provinces, given that in that country the man crouches and crosses one foot behind the other, whereas, in our zone, the step is executed the other way around and the dancers maintain an upright posture.
Corrido: Poetic form of an Andalusian origin. In Mexico, it became popular through various rhythms in order to develop epic themes relating to the Mexican revolution. It is also said that it is an epic-lyrical and narrative genre, given that it is the literary form that supports a musical phrase. It narrates events that incite people’s sensitivity in a powerful way. Its epic content derives from Spanish Romance and generally maintains its overall form, preserving its narrative character about war accomplishments and combats, and creating thus a story for the people and by the people. Its lyrical or poetic content derives from the Copla and the Cantar. Many Mexican corridos became popular in Chile and Argentina, and they where interpreted to the rhythm of the Mexican Polka, which led people to think that it was a rhythm and not a poetical or lyrical expression. That is how the rhythm of the Mexican Polka, widespread as Corrido in Chile and Argentina, gained popularity and achieved to create new compositions, such as Mis Harapos or El Corrido Coyhaique. In the dance, the step used is the pasodoble (double-step) and the simplified figures of Polka.
Valse: It derives from the traditional Argentinian valse, which in turn derives from European waltz (a rhythm of German origin, ternary compass and moderate movement, which originated in the late 1700s.) The valse that is danced in Coyhaique, differs from its European counterpart in the steps, which are shorter; although, it is still very similar in the turns and the dancer’s body posture.
Valseado: Rhythm that originated in Corrientes, derived from the Argentinian valse. It is faster and more energetic than its still living predecessor. The dance essentially differs from valse in the steps, which are executed in the same way as the Ranchera, but the movements and turns are similar to those of the valse, yet obviously performed faster. Amongst the most popular valseados are El Yaré and Aires Campesinos.
Milonga: Rhythm from Buenos Aires, with an origin similar to the Tango, but somewhat faster. The dance served as a model for the Baldoza-style Tango, with the difference that Milonga is executed faster and the steps are shorter. In our area, it maintains the baldoza-style step, but without the typical tricks from Buenos Aires, such as “ochitos” (a dance figure in which the man pauses and the woman executes an eight-movement instead of the baldoza step.)
Ranchera: Derived from the Mazurka (a rhythm originally from Poland.) In the dance, the couple performs steps in a 3/4 time. The choreography draws a circle or an ellipsis, which is interrupted with one or two turns, called “vueltas,” at certain intervals given by changes of speed and refrains of the composition. Stylistically, there are those who can also highlight the rhythm with their heels and others who mark the compass in a very elegant and smooth way.
Pasodoble (double-step): Spanish dance performed in a binary compass, derived from the march. When there is more than one guitar as musical accompaniment, it tries to imitate the accords of Spanish instruments (castanets.) As for the dance, it is done similarly to the way it is practiced in Europe.
Polka: Derived from the Argentinean creole Polka, which in turn derives from European Polka (a Czech rhythm from Bohemia.) As for the dance, in the Commune of Coyhaique, we have observed two different types of performance: a very lively one, with long steps (similar to the Argentinian and Mexican versions); and a very sober one (similar to the Buenos Aires Milonga, but different in the turns and in that it includes some figures of the pasodoble or double-step.)
Source: Leonel Galindo. (2004) Aysén and Folklore. Puerto Montt: Printed by Master Print.
Among the typical games of this area, the Taba stands out. It consists of throwing a talus bone from four to eight meters away onto a marked arena.
It is common to see this object on shelves or on top of a chimney, at hand and ready to use for gambling, especially when people are bored or when there is a celebration or country fest as those mentioned above, among others. The game uses the talus bone of the hind foot of a young steer. This bone is covered by to two metal plates which are bolted onto the bone. One of the plates is longer and it is called “uña” (nail.) The game involves tossing the object, aiming to pass a line that is marked between four to eight meter away. The people present also take part in the game by making bets in favour or against the person throwing the Taba. The expressions used for gambling are: “voy altiro” (betting on the throw) or “voy al que tira” (betting on the thrower); “pago” (pay on the throw) or “pago contra el tiro” (paying against the throw.) When it is a good throw, they say “buenas tardes” (good afternoon), and if it is bad throw, they say “macho, gritó la partera” (literally meaning: male, cried the midwife.)
In the region of Aysén, there is a living human treasure, Mr Rómulo Ranquehue Marilicán. He is known for his game of Taba and for being one of the oldest Taba players of the region. Since he was 15 years old, he has been dedicated to making tabas, the main element of the traditional game in the southern region, which represents the social and playful aspect of the Patagonian culture.
The manufacture of this object has enabled us to preserve the tradition and establish a space for the community to gather and create different manifestations of our cultural heritage; hence, reinforcing local identity.
We invite you to see the documentary about Mr. Rómulo, to get to know him a little better: Tesoros Humanos Vivos 2013: Rómulo Ranquehue Marilicán [DOCUMENTARY]
The Truco (trick) is a game that came to America from Spain. It is played in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay, and also in parts of Italy. Each country or area has its own game variations, which makes the game unique to each locality. It arrived to the Aysén region thanks to the pioneers who lived for decades in Argentina. The game uses a Spanish card deck, very popular in the region.
It comprises many typical phrases and the way to play it is very attractive, since it is about deceiving the opponent. The most valuable card is the ace of sword, followed by the ace of clubs, the seven of swords and the seven of gold. The player who holds three cards of the same suit in his or her hands, has what is called “flor” (flower), and should “cantarla” (sing it) on the first turn they get it or deny it by saying “envido,” “truco,” “quiero” or “no quiero.”
The trick about Truco is that one must be cunning and fast in order to play (and also good at lying!) This game demands a lot of bluffing, just like poker, but it is more complex and perhaps more fun.
Mini-Dictionary for Truco
Palo: cards of the same suit.
Cantar (sing): expressing out loud whether you have a good or a bad hand, and sometimes accompanied by a phrase that rhymes.
Flor (flower): three cards of the same suit. This hand is worth 3 points.
Truco: you can announce it at any time during the game, if the opponents does not wish to play the Truco they must say “no quiero” (“I don’t accept”), and the challenger only gets one point. To win the Truco it is necessary to win two out of three rounds, but if a player sings “truco”, he or she cannot sing “retruco” later on.
Retruco: A player can sing “retruco” when he accepts (faces) the “truco,” which is the challenge made by his or her opponent. Retruco is worth three points and if the opponent does not accept, he or she must say “no quiero” (I don’t accept.) In this case the player will get two points.
Envido or Real Envido (bidding): players can only sing envido on the first round, and if accepted, the player who has the highest cards of the same suit wins. The challenged player may counter-challenge the opponent if he or she trusts the cards in his or her hand, by singing out Real Envido. Envido is worth 2 points and real envido is worth 3 points.
Quiero (I accept): the challenged player accepts the opponent’s dare if he or she considers that his or her hand is better than the opponent’s, who has previously announced his or her hand.
No quiero (I don’t accept): the player does not wish to play his hand against the opponent.
Recantar (sing again): announcing the cards one more time.
Cantos de Truco:
To play truco, or to get familiarized with the game, here are some phrases players can “sing” in order to announce their cards
I’m like the wind that crosses
between the sea and mountains
I’m a guitarist in Tapera
in O’Higgins payador
in Tranquilo a troubadour
in Cochrane an accordionist
in Coyhaique I’m an artist
I saw grass and harvest FLOR
Aysén has the Mirador
Coyhaique the Divisadero
The coastline has the Ventisqueros
Mañihuales the Mineral
La Perla is in Guadal
The sun shines in Chile Chico
Though my ENVIDO might be poor
I play the TRUCO just like so
I’m like the condor that flies
high above the Aysén sky
I’m quick on the plains
just like the venison
I’m skilled with the rope
and good to the grocery girl
I’m Milonga, I’m Ranchera
FLOR and TRUCO I sing bold.
Because it’s our tradition
bitter Mate, games and Taba
Marked arena and propositions
Tortas Fritas and a roast
With a CHE with say hello
dismounting and unsaddling
In Coyhaique and all through Chile
I bring as gift a FLOR.
These phrases reflect part of the culture and the Patagonian identity, a mixture of the pioneers’ experiences and customs. They reflect the wit and cunning of the Aysén people, as well as their sense of humour.
- “El que se apura en la Patagonia, pierde el tiempo” (In Patagonia to be in a hurry is a waste of time): Old saying used when there were no roads and one depended on nature in order to travel and had to wait for days for the weather to improve.
- “Vaca que cambia e’querencia se atrasa en la parición” (A cow that changes stations delivers a late calf): It is said about people who are doing well in one place but wish to move to another. The saying comes from the fact that when you move a cow to a unknown place, their calving are delayed.
- “Más vale tranco que dure que trote que canse” (Better a steady stride than a tiring trot): It is better to do things slowly and well, rather than in a hurry and badly. The stride of the horse is softer than the trot and less abusive.
- “Cortito como viraje de laucha” (Short like the turn of a mice): It is said of a very quick arren or trip.” Running mice do not need a lot of space to make a turn.
- “Más bigotudo que alpargata vieja” (He has more moustache than an old espadrille): It is said about a man with a thick moustache, Traditional espadrilles are made with canvas fabric and a jute sole When used, the sole becomes flimsy and it looks like a sort of moustache.
- “Que la vaca no se olvide que fue ternera” (May the cow not forget she was once a calf): It refers to a person who is successful or socially arises and tends to forget his or her origins.
- “Desmonte, amigo y desensille” (Dismount, my friend, and unsaddle): It is a cordial greeting for someone who comes to visit. It offers the traveller the possibility to rest inside the house and to let his horse sleep in the paddock.
- “Más solo que guanaco macho” (Lonelier than a male guanaco): It is used to refer to loners. The male guanaco is alone most of the time since it is his responsibility to monitor the herd at a distance.
- “Quedó flor y truco” (It was flor and truco): it is an expression of the card game, truco. It is used when something is done perfectly. In the game, the words “flor” (flower) and “truco” (trick) are used to express that one has a good hand in the game.
- “Livianito como caldo de tero” (As light as tero broth): Tero is a bird, elsewhere known as queltehue or traile (southern lapwing.) This phrase can have three interpretations: the first one is to refer to very skinny people; the second to refer to someone who gets mad very easily; and lastly it is also used to describe people who speak gibberish.
- “Se hace el mocho” (He plays mocho): it is said of a person who evades his or her responsibilities. Mochos are cattle without horns which therefore complicate the roper’s task, since they catch cattle by the horns.
- “Más serio (o asustado) que perro en bote” (More serious -or scared- than a dog on a boat): it is said of a person who is grim and serious. A dog on a boat stays very still, very serious and very scared, so much so that they don’t even move their tale.
We invite you to see our brochure “Guide to Aysén’s Heritage,” which you may also take with you in your mobile device during your trip.
If you wish to know more about National Monuments in Aysén, click here for more information.
We invite you to visit the site of the National Council for Culture and Arts and see their brochure about Heritage.
Find out more Information about cultural activities in Coyhaique here.
The Regional Aysén Museum awaits you this next season, in the meantime, visit their website