Myths and Legends: Guarana and Cassava stamps from Brazil

A series of stamps issued by the Brazilian Post refers to two legends of origin: the legends of Guarana and Cassava.

The first legend tells about the Satere-Mawe tribe which appeared weakened by wars with Apiakas. But happily a boy with big eyes was born in this tribe. With the birth of the boy, the tribe stopped being attacked by Apiakas and started to live a peaceful life. There was a belief that the time of peace was related to the existence of the boy and because of that, he was protected and guarded by others. But one day, the evil spirit ("jurapari") took the form of a snake and attacked the boy, causing him death. The shaman of the tribe was alerted by their gods to pull the boy's eyes and bury them. After being showered for four moons of mourning by all the tribe, a plant grown whose seed closely resembled the shape of the dead boy's eyes. A drink from the grated seeds of the plant was giving strength to the warriors of the Satere-Mawe.

The second legend, also known as "The Legend of Mani" presents a legend of Guarana, in which a stranger appears in an Indian tribe and impregnates one of the Indies. Nine months later, the woman gave birth to a girl, who was named Mani. Inexplicably the girl died and in her grave, moistened by the tears of her mother, grown a shrub whose roots were much appreciated in feeding everyone.

The stamp featuring the legend of Guarana presents the boy, the serpent as evil spirit, the Guarana plant and its various fruits symbolizing the boy's eyes. The stamp featuring the Cassava legend illustrates the mother with the baby on her lap with the Cassava plant in the background.

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