Mateando: A Tradition


Matear or mateando means to take part in the Argentine tradition of drinking yerba mate. From its history to its drinking and serving rules to its many delicious variants, it is important to understand the significance of drinking mate in the lives of many Argentine people. The tradition even has its own vocabulary! 

What tradition did I learn about?:

Before I came to Argentina, people kept telling me that I was going to be drinking a lot of mate. Mate, also known as yerba mate, is a traditional South American beverage that is normally served hot, like tea. It is commonly found in Argentina and neighboring countries like Paraguay.

I did not realize how important drinking mate would be until I arrived here. One day as I sat down with some of my new friends, I heard someone ask, "quieres mate?" ("Do you want mate?") I immediately perked up, because I had been wanting to try the beverage for a while. Everyone sat down outside around a large teapot, a small a gourd and a bag of tea leaves that had been ground up. As time went by, we passed the gourd around, each person taking a few sips from the same straw.