Saci Pererę is a very playful character in Brazilian mythology. The
color of his skin is black and he has only one leg. He is always depicted smoking a large
pipe. He wears a red pointed hat, which gives him magical powers like the ability to
appear or disappear whenever he wants to. He loves to play pranks like distracting
people who are cooking so that the food burns on the stove. Some of his other pranks are
to hide kitchen utensils, bang doors or letting animals penned in corrals loose. Another
favorite of his is to startle travelers or hunters who venture alone in the forests, by
whistling loudly in their ears. After this, he appears to them in a cloud of smoke, asking
them to light his pipe. During full moon nights, he hops onto a horse and gallops merrily
around the countryside.
According to legend, inside every small tornado that raises dust and
sweeps everything it finds in its way, there is a Saci Perere. People say that if someone
throws a rosary made of seeds inside the tornado, Saci Perere can be captured. By taking
possession of his hat, the person can have any wish fulfilled.
CURUPIRA OR CAIPORA
Another very popular character in Brazilian mythology is Curupira. He
is a dwarf with red hair and green teeth. Some say his skin is also green. His feet are
turned backwards. Due to this particularity, he manages to confuse his pursuers. One of
his favorite pranks is to make people follow his footprints to nowhere. It looks like he
is walking in one direction, when in reality, he is walking in the opposite direction.
Curupira is the protector of animals and plants and will punish any
hunter who hunts for fun as well as any logger who cuts a tree without a good reason for
doing so. He is strong and powerful and likes to mislead hunters or loggers by whistling
into their ears and giving them false directional signals.
Boi Tatá is a large fire serpent who lives in the deep rivers. He
attacks animals that come near him in the water and supposedly eats their eyes. According
to legend, by doing this, he absorbs light from them, thus appearing as a brilliant fire
serpent skimming the water surface.
This is the hero of the populace. He is a character who through his
smartness always outwits the more powerful characters. He is a sort of Robin Hood without
arms, winning by his sheer cleverness.
IARA OR YARA
Yara is the "Mother of
the Rivers" in the Tupi Indian tribe mythology.
She is a very beautiful young woman with long dark hair. She lives close to water sources
in the forest. Her beauty is so great and her voice so melodious that it is said that any
man who sees her and hears her singing, falls madly in love with her. Men become so
infatuated with her that they end up jumping into the waters in pursuit of her,
In the amazon region there are two kinds of dolphins, the Pink Dolphin
and the Black Dolphin. During the month of June, the feast of St. John takes place, with
bonfires being lit, people dancing and there is an abundance of typical, regional food.
Tradition says that during these festivities, the Pink Dolphin comes to the party,
disguised as a handsome young man. He always wears a hat because his transformation into a
human is not complete, his nostrils remaining on top of his head. He dances with the first
beautiful, young woman he meets, wooing her to come with him to the depths of the river.
So during these festivities, it is common to ask every man to take off his hat to make
sure that there is no Boto among them.
According to legend, young women from
a tribe in the Amazon area, who lived on the banks of one of the great rivers, enjoyed
singing to the full mooon while sitting next to the water. One day one of the
maidens climbed on a tree to see if she could reach the full moon. She tried and
tried to no avail. Looking to the river she saw the reflection of the full moon on
the water. Thinking that the moon had finally responded to her wish, she threw
herself into the waters, disappearing... but the moon, taking pity on this young woman,
transformed her into the Vitória Régia, the beautiful large water-lilly that can be
found in the Amazon rivers and its tributaries.
THE LEGEND OF "GUARANA"
An Amazon Indian tribe was well known for its strong and courageous
warriors. This people lived ver happily. They grew some crops and there were always plenty
of animals to hunt for food. The Indians believed they were so lucky because of the son of
the "Cacique", the chief of the tribe. This child was much liked and everybody
looked after him.
One day, the warriors got distracted and the little boy went on his own
into the forest to play. Jealous members of an enemy tribe used this opportunity to call
on Jurupai, the "Bad Spirit", who came and asked them what they wanted of him.
The men replied that they were jealous of the other tribes good fortunes and wanted
Jurupai to put an end to that happiness by killing the little boy.
So Jurupai transformed himself into a
serpent and bit the boy. Later,
the people of the boys tribe found him dead. They cried very much and decided to
call Tupa, the "Good Spirit". Tupa listened carefully and advised them to plant
the boys eyes and water the soil well with their tears. And so they did. In a few
days, a beautiful plant began to grow. The plant produced small berries, which looked like
the boys eyes. The Indians called the plant Gurana and from the berries they made a
beverage, also called Guarana. This drink brought them good luck again, making them
strong, keeping them young and rejuvenating the old people. Brazilians, still today, love
to drink Gurana.