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Seven sips, three drinks, one long, a whole glass, and always fasting. Taking cane with ruda on the first day of August is a custom that does not lose followers. It is believed that fulfilling this ritual will bind health and luck and drives away envy and malefices . But where does it come from and what does it mean?
This custom, rooted in northern Argentina, more specifically in the provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, has spread throughout the country and is a millennial tradition that comes from the native peoples of America. They recognized in the rue multiple medicinal properties against parasites and gastrointestinal discomforts , and was also used to calm the burning and irritation of bites of bugs and vermin. As in August there were heavy rains, which together with the cold caused many deaths in the population and in cattle, they created this natural remedy where cane and ruda are mixed to overcome these problems.
Originally liqueurs made with chañar, patay, tunas or carob were used, to which contracerba or medicinal herbs were added. With the arrival of Europeans, the components mutated to form the recipe we know today.
The introduction of cane cultivation for sugar production, at the time of Spanish colonization, began to produce cane brandy in parallel. Added to this was the arrival of the rue in America whose medicinal capacities did not go unnoticed.
To this combination of plant and drink the imaginary Guarani was awarded properties and virtues. From there derived the popular belief that considers cane con ruda as a spell against envy and bad luck . This brew is consumed “to scare away the evils of winter.”
While tradition dictates that you have to take it on the first of August, those who forget or do not manage to do it, have the opportunity to do so until the 15th of the month.
In addition, in Argentina and several Latin American countries, August 1 is celebrated Pachamama Day . It is a thank you party that is celebrated in different ways depending on the region. One of the most popular rites, of course, is to take cane with ruda.
Publication Date: 01/08/2019
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