The Festive Season is Coming Up!

Jordy Muus

December 20, 2021

Whilst being in the midst of all the festivities, you might wonder, what and how do traditional communities in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest celebrate?

The festive season is almost here! Christmas music and lights are already being enjoyed worldwide. Most of society is getting warm and cozy together, cooking, and being with their families in preparation for the most beautiful season of the year. However, Christmas is only one of many festivities that are being celebrated towards the end of the year. For example, many cultures also recognize and celebrate New Year's eve, and some communities even have celebrations more specific and unique to their culture; for example, the Netherlands has Sinterklaas (although already passed), and in Catalunya, they celebrate Tió de Nadal.

Whilst being in the midst of all the festivities, you might wonder, what and how do traditional communities in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest celebrate? Do they also celebrate New Year's Eve and Christmas?

To answer your question, they do not! The Huaorani indigenous do not recognize time and therefore do not have seasons. They genuinely live from day to day. If they feel festive, they will organize a feast together. The tribes prepare for the festivities by the men going out to hunt for a few days; they will, for example, go out to hunt for boars or monkeys, the latter which is considered a delicacy. The women will gather a wide range of foods, like berries, etc. They prepare one thing especially, Chicha. Chicha is a Huaorani treat especially for festivities. It is made by mashing the yuca root and chewing on it, the chewing helps it ferment. The fermenting process adds alcohol to the Chicha, the longer it stands, the more alcohol it will contain. So for example, if the men take longer to hunt, the Chicha will have more time to 'ripe' and will contain more alcohol. If Chonta fruits are ripe the women will use this instead of yuca to prepare the Chicha. However, these unique fruits are found high up in palmtrees, so they first have to be picked. First they are green and after they have been picked they become beautifully orange.

One reason for the Huaorani indigenous to feel festive is for a marriage to take place. In traditional Huaorani culture marriages are very important and celebrated big-time!  

Can you imagine not living with time and genuinely enjoying and living day by day? The Huaorani culture offers a unique insight into how the world could have been and how the world used to be thousands of years ago when clocks did not exist yet.

Sadly this unique way of living is under enormous threat and disappearing rapidly, while there is still so much left to learn from these incredible communities. With your help, we can preserve indigenous lives and cultures by working alongside these stunning communities and purchasing and protecting highly biodiverse native forests, which the Huaorani indigenous and the tremendous amounts of animals living here need to survive.

Want to do something different this year for Christmas? Consider giving to STNF by donating. Together we can make the difference and give the forest back to nature and keep it out of the hands of those who would harm it.