Friends in Argentina


One dismal rainy day a group of men who had volunteered to protect the people of Argentina against early invaders of their country met to demand freedom. They were given blue and white ribbons as a symbol of Argentine patriotism. According to legend, the sun burst through the clouds and shone down on these ribbons at the very moment that word reached the group that Argentina had been given its freedom. In honor of these patriots, the first military flag of the country had blue and white stripes. Eventually the first Congress of Argentina added a sun (called the “Sun of May”) to the middle stripe and declared it to be the national flag.

Every year on July 9 special parades are held in Argentina to celebrate Independence Day. Bands play and special regiments of honor, proudly displaying the country’s pale blue and white flag, march in honor of General José de San Martín, who commanded the forces that defeated the Spanish army and helped to win independence for Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Many monuments also honor this great military leader.

Argentina is the second largest country in South America. Its name comes from the Latin word meaning “silver.”

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and is one of the most exciting cities in the world.

The great majority of the Argentine people are descendants of early Spanish settlers or of Spanish and Italian immigrants.

Many people take a long lunch hour followed by a siesta (a time to rest). Then they go back to work and usually don’t have dinner until nine o’clock at night or later.

Like other countries south of the equator, the seasons in Argentina are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere. The hottest days are in January and February, and the coldest days are in July and August.

Children attend school from March to November and vacation during December, January, and February. Some children go to school from eight until noon, and others from two until six in the evening.

It is easy to know when Argentine children are on their way to or from school because they wear white delantales (smocks) over their clothes. These smocks cover children to their knees and button down the front for boys and down the back for girls.

When school is over and work is done, boys and girls like to play games. Wearing small benies (knee-length shorts) and tight-fitting jerseys, some children ride bicycles, others play soccer, and older boys play an exciting game on horseback called pato. In pato (duck), a leather object with handles is passed back and forth as the players try to reach a goal.

Did You Know?

Argentina’s picturesque cowboys are called gauchos. They wear ponchos, big pieces of brightly colored cloth with a hole in the middle so the garment can be pulled over their heads.

Buenos Aires means “Good Airs” and is the largest city in South America. It is also the largest city in the Western Hemisphere with the exception of New York and Mexico City.

The tango dance originated in Buenos Aires and has been popular throughout Europe and the United States. The gauchos have originated many folk songs and dances with rhythms that often sound like the gait of horses. The music is usually played on a guitar, mandolin, or accordion.

The famous statue Christ of the Andes is on the border between Chile and Argentina.

Gauchos (cowboys) tend herds of cattle that graze on rich grassy plains called the Pampa. The Pampa covers about a fifth of the country.

Argentina has been nicknamed the Granary of the South because it produces so much wheat.

The government of Argentina requires all children from 6 to 14 years of age to attend school. Nine out of ten Argentines can read and write.

The most popular sport in Argentina is fútbol (football), which is played like English soccer. Basketball, skiing, fencing, fishing, hunting, water sports, and pato (a combination of polo and basketball) are also enjoyed in this country.

Spanish Crossword

Using the following list of Spanish names for family members, put the correct Spanish word in the appropriate spaces.

abuelo

esposa

hermano

hija

abuela

padre

hermana

tio

esposo

madre

hijo

tia

Across:

1. grandfather

2. husband

3. father

4. aunt

5. brother

6. son

7. mother

Down:

1. grandmother

8. wife

9. sister

10. uncle

11. daughter

Answers:

[illustration] Illustrated by JoAnn Bowen

Across—(1) abuelo, (2) esposo, (3) padre, (4) tia, (5) hermano, (6) hijo, (7) madre Down—(1) abuela, (8) esposo, (9) hermana, (10) tio, (11) hija