BUENOS AIRES – Friendship, social gatherings, pleasure and enjoyment are some of the words and phrases Argentines connect with “mate,” a drink that is celebrating its national day on Wednesday and which is now being shared via the social networks.
Under the slogan “Everything is in mate,” the National Yerba Mate Institute (INYM) on Wednesday launched an Internet campaign to educate Argentines to what it means to consume the thousand-year-old drink, which is celebrating National Mate Day on Nov. 30.
On Twitter, under the hashtag #DiaNacionaldelMate, people posted photos of them drinking mate along with messages such as “Maturity is drinking mate alone” and “The best conversations always come when there’s mate.”
Argentine President Mauricio Macri also posted a tweet, saying “Today is #DiaNacionalDelMate, I’m happy that my countrymen can celebrate it. We recommend not to waste it...”
It was years ago that “mate aficionados” created communities on Facebook to lobby for giving the drink a national day, and since achieving their objective they have been demanding the creation of an emoticon featuring mate.
The date selected for the drink’s national day is the anniversary of the birth of Andres Guacurari y Artigas, the first indigenous provincial governor in Argentine history, heading the so-called Great Province of Misiones, which nowadays is the northeastern province of Misiones, where the largest quantity of yerba mate, the plant from which mate is derived, is grown.
The Guarani Indians discovered mate and now there are many ways to enjoy the beverage, which is called “part of the Argentine DNA,” according to Valeria Trapaga, the first sommelier in the world to specialize in yerba mate.
Typically, mate is prepared by filling a gourd with dry yerba mate leaves (and twigs), then filling it up with hot but not boiling water. Sugar may or may not be added.
Mate is the most popular hot drink in Argentina, where some 85 percent of the population enjoys it an average of three times per day, according to the Taragüi company.
Other countries where the people enjoy the drink include Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Brazil.