PARAGUAY

The Land-locked Wonder

The Basics

Location, Climate and Weather

Located in South America, land-locked by Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, you find Paraguay. The subtropical climate of Paraguay is a perfect escape from the harsh Minnesota winters. From October to March, the season of Summer is upon Paraguay. What better time to go visit than in the middle of summer? You better hurry though, because from July to September Paraguay can experience night frost. Brr! This week the weather in Paraguay is in the low nineties and high eighties, but there is a chance for rain, so don't forget to grab your umbrella!

Fitting In

Languages

There are two main languages of Paraguay, the first is Guarani, which is extremely valued by the locals. Guarani is spoken in everyday life and is considered the official national language. The second language spoken is Spanish, which is used for business and government related purposes. Spanish is understood by most Paraguayan's, so be prepared to use your Spanish speaking skills!

Folkways (Rules of Everyday Life)

The indigenous people of Paraguay have plenty of everyday rules, but here are six to help you out! Corn and beef make up their basic diet, so plan accordingly! During special family gatherings or celebrations you may also experience another food called asado, or in other words, a barbeque, which isn't too intimidating! When traveling to Paraguay proper etiquette is important. Greetings vary by social classes, but women will usually greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, whether meeting for the first time or not, so don't be alarmed! As for men they may greet with a kiss on the cheek as well or shake hands. Departing follows the same rules. The Paraguayan's pay extra attention to their infants and shower them with affection. Men and women of all ages take part in this, as you will most likely never see a child being carried anywhere else but in someone's arms. Family units would be similar to that of Minnesota, they are nuclear families, meaning a married couple with their children or a single mother with her children. Nothing too different there! Last but not least you will see that agriculture and hydroelectric power is the majority of commercial production, which wouldn't be out of the ordinary. Now you know the basic rules of everyday life!

Taboos

One major taboo you will see while in Paraguay is that language is an important identification of social class. Those considered upper class will primarily speak Spanish in private and public even though they may understand Guarani. This will help you identify the social classes among Paraguay.

Digging Deeper

Subcultures

Altogether there are seventeen ethnic groups in Paraguay, most of which have mingled into the national population. There are still two main subcultures that stand out. These subcultures are known as the Mennonites and the Japanese. The Mennonites are located in the western and northern regions, whereas the Japanese settled in the agricultural colonies. These ethnic groups are special to Paraguay, so be sure to look out for them!

Cultural Landscape

In Paraguay remnants of the eight famous Jesuit Missions sites exist. The Jesuit Missions were built here in the eighteenth century to convert and govern the local Guarani people and are located in the southern region of Paraguay known as Itapúa. La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná, which was built in 1706, containing a church along with other smaller buildings. The Mision de Jesús de Tavarangué was moved to its location in Itapúa in 1690. Last, but not least, The Santos Cosme y Damián Jesuit mission is buildings of unfinished churches and several other building related to Jesuit Missions. This church is in use today. Don't forget to stop and see some important history of the Guarani people!

Cultural Diffusion

One example of cultural diffusion in Paraguay is the famous soft drink Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola can be found in almost any country and you can surely find it in Paraguay! If you ever want a taste of home while you're away, just grab a bottle of Coca-Cola!

Cultural Change

Predominantly run by the male population, Paraguay gave little rights and freedom to its women. Until recently in 1961, Paraguay was the last Latin American country to grant its women the right to vote. Women were also lacking before the constitutional reforms in 1992. After these reforms, women were now able to have equal rights and interests in their marriage, like working outside of their homes and traveling, more power to the women!

Works Cited

"Coca-Cola." Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company. Web. 18 Jan. 2015.

"Countries and Their Cultures." Culture of Paraguay. Advameg Inc. Web. 18 Jan. 2015.

"Paraguay." - Attractions and Landmarks. Gatis Pāvils. Web. 18 Jan. 2015.