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Travel Experiences Since 2007

Brazil has many legends and myths.  The folkloristic characters of these stories have certainly a big relevance, they seem to be alive. That’s due to the fact that people believe so much in them that they end up loving, fearing  and respecting these entities as if they were real.  So many civilizations from literally all over the world have colonized or passed through this amazing country. Even before the colonization began natives who were already living in this land had their incredible stories to tell. Myths and legends were merged by creating new stories that were told by word of mouth and became a relevant part of the folklore of Brazil today.

One of the most popular legends in Brazil is the Saci Pererê. This myth is so important that there is a national day to celebrate this character. On 31st of october schools work with students on remembering the folklore by reading stories, by creating statues in arts and crafts lessons, by having plays in the theaters, and many more activities.

Originally Saci Pererê was a native boy with tanned skin and a ponytail, who lived in the forest. When the legend traveled north of Brazil it got influenced by African culture. It was then that Saci became an african boy with only one leg. At this time the boy also started being depicted with a tobacco pipe in his mouth and a red magical hat. His magical hat allows him to appear and disappear at his will in different places, usually inside a tornado. Saci enjoys playing pranks on random people, whistling while strolling at late hours of the night. His favorite pastime is to braid horses’ manes while they are asleep. He has a blast letting livestock free, annoying dogs and cats and casting spells on eggs so they don’t hacht. Really often his fun takes place in the household, for example in the kitchen he likes throwing salt on the floor, making milk turn sour, burning the food and putting flies in it. He loves hiding things and watching people go crazy looking for it. Everything that goes wrong is blamed on poor Saci.

Saci Pererê is an expert on herbs, plants and their properties. In fact whoever enters the forest needing to pick a plant, has to ask him for permission, otherwise he or she will become the victim of his pranks. There are ways for one to free him or herself from Saci. The first one is to cross a body of water, he will never follow you on the other side, otherwise he loses all his powers. The second one is to drop a rope fool of knots, he will stop to disentangle it. One could also try and befriend him, by leaving some cachaca (spirits) or tobacco for him to find.  A really interesting aspect of the myth is that if you succeed in stealing his hat he will then be at your command, that is until you keep the hat. Saci can also be captured and kept inside a dark bottle sealed with a cork, depending on the way his master treats him, he can become a valuable friend and guardian, or a terrible enemy.

Even if we are living in modern times the belief is really strong. In origin people would sit around bonfires and hand down their stories. Today we may find these stories in literature, in television, in comic books, ect. This is the proof that the myth is far from dying.