Nguillatun

Nguillatun

Usually March
The Mapuche Indians live in southern Chile and west central Argentina, particularly in the province of NeuquÉn. The name Mapuche means "people of the earth." The autumn harvest usually comes in March and for the Mapuche, this is a time to say special prayers to give thanks and ask for fertility and protection from floods, droughts, and other disasters. A special nguillatun (gee-ya-TOON), or prayer ceremony, is held at harvest time and is led by a machi, a religious leader who is usually a woman. People apply blue and white paint to their faces—colors which are considered spiritually positive. For two to four days the Mapuche pray, sing, dance and feast.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Chile
1732 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-785-1746; fax: 202-887-5579
www.chile-usa.org
SOURCES:
EncyRel-1987, vol. 9, p. 186
FestWrld: Chile-1998, p. 24