The legend of the yerba mate tells that an old Guarani warrior lived in his cabin sadly because he could no longer go out to the wars, not even to hunt and fish, living alone with his beautiful daughter Yari, who treated him with much affection, remaining single to better dedicate herself to her father.
One day, Yari and her father were visited by a traveler, who spent the night in the hut, receiving their best treatment. The young woman sang so that the visitor would fall asleep and have a restful sleep, singing a soft and sad song.
At dawn, the traveler confessed to be sent from Tupã. He wanted to return the hospitality he had received and said that he would attend to any desire, even the most remote. The old warrior, knowing that his young daughter had not married in order not to abandon him, demanded that his forces be returned, so that Yari would become free.
The Tupã messenger handed the old man a branch of the Caá tree, teaching him how to prepare an infusion that would restore all his vigor. He even turned Yari into a goddess of the herbs and protector of the Guarani race, being called Caá-Yari, the goddess of yerba mate. And so the herb was used by all the warriors of the tribe, making them stronger and mighty.
When the Spaniards arrived here, they found the Guarani Indians gentle and receptive, using a drink sipped in gourds by means of a straw, prepared with leaves from a native tree of the region, called Caá, saying that this herb had been given to them by the god Tupã. Immediately the Spaniards acquired the habit and began to drink yerba mate, from soldiers to officers, without distinction of social classes.
The yerba mate, traditional and salutary habit of southern Brazil, is a symbol of the hospitality of the gaucho, who always offers the yerba mate to any visitor. Nowadays, the infusion is drunk in a gourd where we deposit the ground yerba mate and from where we sip the liquid (hot water without boiling), through a metal pump.
The healthy habit of drinking yerba mate is widespread, both in the rural and urban areas, and is part of the Gaucho’s life from dawn to night when he finishes his daily tasks.