There are many cultures throughout South America, and one of the most fascinating is the Wayuu people who reside in northern Columbia and southern Venezuela in the La Guajira desert. They are ancient people that live a simple life in harmony with nature, and although you may not have heard of them before, you will most likely be familiar with some of the products they produce. Below is more information about these fascinating people that will give you insight into their lives in this area and how resilient the local population is.
The Wayuu Way Of Life
You find that the Wayuu people typically live in small communities consisting of five or six family homes residing close to each other. Their way of life has been handed down through generations and has left them unscathed by the modern way of life. Women are an integral part of the culture holding positions of importance within their community and are the central focus of each family. So much so that their children carry their mother’s last name rather than their fathers, they pass down the skills that their children will need to survive and lead productive lives.
Their Famous Colourful Bags
Even if you have not heard of these people before, you may recognise the famous Mochilas Wayuu bags that they produce by hand. These colourful shoulder bags are woven by hand and can take anywhere between two and four weeks to make, depending on the design’s complexity. When creating their fantastic designs, they place each strand of cotton on their loom, which is a technique that has been used for countless generations.
Keeping The Tradition Alive
Each mother will teach her daughters how to weave and crochet, amongst other things, which helps to keep alive the Wayuu people’s traditions. Legend has it that the Wayuu were taught to weave by a spider, and it is a rite of passage for each woman as they come of age in their culture. By the time they reach adulthood, each woman will have mastered their family’s designs, helping to keep their traditions alive. Each cluster of Wayuu people has its own designs that tell a story through the weave patterns and colours. These bags are popular worldwide, as well as with tourists visiting Colombia and Venezuela.
You do not have to travel to South America to buy one of the high-quality and beautifully coloured bags, as there are many places where you can purchase them online. If you would like to find out more information about the fascinating Wayuu people, you can click here to find out all about them.