The literary invention of the gaucho survives in the 21st century as a rebellious and elusive emblem

San Antonio de Areco. Eternal and at the same time elusive: 150 years after its birth In literature, the gaucho continues within the argentinityhalfway between myth and testimony of how the country was built, perceived and transformed.

A whirlwind of dust surrounds the crazy cavalcade of hundreds of horses. In the center, the riders strive to keep the herd of seven or eight horses together without losing one or interrupting the career of the others, in a display of riding virtuosity.

Is he entrevero de tropillaskey in the Festival of Tradition that is celebrated every year in San Antonio de Areco.

This town, 120 kilometers from the modern and cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, seems like another country: territory of men on horseback, the pampas, the gaucho tradition. Beret, espadrille, guitar and facón at the belt.

Every December 6, Argentina celebrates National Gaucho Day.

Its figure is equally present in Uruguay and with variants in Paraguay and southern Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. But in this 2022 that marks the 150th anniversary of the publication in 1872 of Martin Fierro, founding poem by Argentine José Hernández. The commemorative acts multiplied with exhibitions, conferences and questions about identity.

“Here I start to sing
to the beat of the vigüela,
than the man who reveals it
an extraordinary pity,
like the lonely bird
He consoles himself with singing.”
“My glory is to live so free
like the bird of the sky,
I don’t make a nest on this ground
there is so much to suffer;
and Naides must follow me
when I take flight.”

Martin Fierro combines sextuplet and four-verse stanzas to sing the melancholic epic of a gaucho from the first half of the 19th century, who enjoys freedom and a nomadic life, while suffering injustice and discrimination due to his mestizo origin.

Rebellious, reluctant to authority, cattle thief and at times quarrelsome, Martín Fierro is also brave, supportive and loyal.

The gaucho became a popular idol long before the intellectuals and the State proposed him as a national emblemassured the Afp the historian Ezequiel Adamovsky, a researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research.

The poem, now translated into 50 languages, was published in cheap pamphlets and was once a sales rage. In 1913 it was consecrated as a national poem.

The residents of San Antonio de Areco, in Argentina, celebrate each year the Festival of Tradition in honor of the writer José Hernández, author of the poem The gaucho Martin Fierro.Ap y Afp’s photo

The most nationalist sectors they tried to present the gaucho as a direct heir of the Spanish conquistadors, who had not interbred with any local inhabitant, which is an untenable fantasy. They tried to project on the body of the gaucho the image of what is white and what is Europeansaid Adamovsky, author of the indomitable gaucho.

In turn, the anarchists, for the rejection of authority; The communists, in the name of the class struggle, and the Peronists, for the support of the farm workers, have claimed throughout history the soul of the gaucho, a dispute that somehow persists until now, the historian described.

The gaucha and the gaucha

With a touch of feminist rebellion, Gabriela Cabezón Cámara published in 2017 the novel The adventures of China Ironin which he recreates the figure of Martín Fierro from the perspective of his companion, who, abandoned by the gaucho, leaves the ranch and leaves with a friend to discover the country and freedom.

In San Antonio de Areco the image of the gaucho is also recreated, but above all it is preserved, with magnificent horses that are skillfully ridden by both children and the elderly.

The man on horseback continues to work and it is impossible to replace him, because although he often rides in a vehicle, there are places that it is impossible to enter in any other waysays to Afp ​​Victoria Sforzini, director of Culture and Heritage of the municipality of San Antonio de Areco.

There are also many uses and customs that are passed from generation to generation.such as the way of lassoing an animal or the practice of herding cattle, says Sforzini.

In 2022 it is difficult to determine who the gaucho is: the horsemen who exhibit their skills in the estancias for tourists or the rural laborers with modest salaries. Or perhaps the bricklayer Julio Casaretto, son, grandson and nephew of gauchos who teaches his little daughter to ride a horse on weekends “because it is what we carry in our blood.

The gaucho was always, from very early on, a literary figure, third Adamovsky, for whom “that vision of a chivalrous, brave figure, faithful to friends continues to exist. He even uses the expression ‘hacer una gauchada’ to say ‘do a favor’”.

By Editor

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