I´m a gaucho, or gaúcha. In Brazil it means I was born in its southermost state, Rio Grande do Sul. There´s a whole lot of things that people say about Brazilian Gauchos, but they´re mostly stereotypes and, as such, I don´t listen to them or buy into them. You can´t put people into bottles and label them. Each one of us is so much more than a bottle content.
Today, September 20th, gauchos celebrate the day their ancestors dreamed of a more equitable world (and lower taxes, to be honest ;-) and started a revolution that culminated with the separation from the Brazilian Empire, proclaiming a republic that they called Republica Rio-Grandense. In this new republic, there was no slavery and centralization. The Empire didn´t like that. Ten years of bloody civil war followed, then, from 1835 to 1845. The gauchos, or Farrapos (Ragged people) as they were called by the simplicity of their clothes, were defeated.
There were horses and fireworks on the street parade this Sunday morning. I heard them, but I didn´t go see them. Am I a lesser gaucho? I´ve been told that, for refusing to buy into that pride thing of showing up horses and costumes. I don´t think so. I don´t set up a show with my feelings. I feel.
I´m a gaucho. In my own gaucho way of being.
How do I know that?
Because I speak with an accent that makes the Rs and Ss sound as if they were made of steel, because I don´t hiss them?
Because I know the feeling of cold air on my face in the morning?
Because I´m used to grey days?
Because I call dogs, and horses, cattle and sheep by different words than the rest of the country?
Because my ears are native to the sound of acordeon?
Because wearing boots is second nature to me?
Because my childhood was filled with stories of headless mules and werewolves?
Could be, but a lot of other people don´t fell anything of the above and are gauchos, as well.
I can´t tell you the definition of a gaucho, because being a gaucho is exactly having no definition, no constraints. It´s being free from the labels and the bindings of definition. A gaucho is, like everybody else, an earth animal.
Talking about werewolves ( and I love the stories about them), this is a great animation about one of the biggest villains in gaucho folklore (there´s no speech, only images and sound):
Do outro mundo (from another world) - if you´re not able to see it right away, scroll down on the page and click on the play sign in the frame "Especial", by the title Do outro Mundo.