By: I. Krakowiak
Brazilian mythology is the subset of Brazilian folklore with cultural elements of diverse origin found in Brazil, comprising folk tales, traditions, characters and beliefs regarding places, people, and entities.
The famous legend of Iara, based on the ancient Tupi and Guarani mythology, my personal favorite, is a very famous Brazilian folklore. A story that developed and spread through various indigenous tribes in the northern region of Brazil, especially in the Amazon.
Iara is a mermaid of captivating beauty, long black silky hair and brown eyes, whose name translates to: ‘the one who lives in the waters’. The legend tells us that Iara is the daughter of a shaman (“pajé”), and was known for being an excellent warrior, however, her beauty and skills rose envy between her brothers, so they plotted to kill her. Being the great fighter she is, Iara resisted and ended up killing all her brothers.
Fearing her father’s reaction, she ran away, as far as she could, but he still found her. The shaman decided to punish her by throwing her where into the ‘Encontro das águas’. She was eventually saved by the fish in the river. During a starry full moon night, Iara became half human, half fish, embodying her true self and her true beauty.
When fishermen travelling through the waters of the Amazon see Iara, their fate is sealed. The mermaid seduces them using her charm and undeniable beauty, luring them to the bottom of the river, where they ultimately drown. Iara stands for ‘A mãe das águas’, this name was given to her because of her of the power she holds by prtect8ing the river from fisherman on the search for wildlife.
Brazilian legends are of great importance to Brazilian culture. These stories are told around the nations and even around the world, because of this Brazilian culture is able to spread around the world, gain credit, encourage inquiry and even influence others.