Wayuu people

The Wayuu people are sand, sun and wind, carried in the moral desert, have stood for centuries in the Guajira Peninsula, are great craftsmen and merchants, tireless fighters their historical rights, which have been violated by the discrimination and racism.

Located north (Palaam¸in) in Zulia State, Venezuela, bounded on the north and east (Palaam¸in s¸ma W¸inpum¸in) by the great Caribbean Sea, west (Uuchim¸in) with Colombia and, South (Wopum¸in) with the municipality Mara, Zulia state also. Being able to say that La Guajira is the place where it starts Venezuela ..

Peninsula inhabited by the indigenous Wayuu people breed known for being indomitable fighters to stay in this land of sun La Guajira, the Wayuu territory of Arawak origin, who settled in the area to convert their land. Aborigines who have kept on fighting against the odds of time and Western culture.

Wayuu are noble people, carriers by sheets and dunes, builders of their own culture, born of the same experiences of its people, with their own characteristics rooted in the Guajira desert, constantly punished by harsh sun rays. Earth inhospitable to all.

We invite you to learn a little of the universe of the Wayuu.

According to archaeological and anthropological evidence, the Guajiro or Wayuu is the Caribbean group. Currently the Wayuu indigenous group is the largest of Venezuela, its population is estimated at 300,000 individuals, a purebred and other crossbred, this group belongs to the great Amazon Arawak family self-determined “Wayuu” meaning person or people. The peninsula of La Guajira, has an area of ​​15,767 km2, of which 2363 km2 of the rest belong to the Republic of Colombia, approximately.

Many have abandoned Wayuu Guajira, migrating to big cities in search of better living conditions, reaching with the Colombians to enlarge the slums present in these.

The downward Wayuu Guajira build their homes coconut palms, while the high Guajira due to the absence of coconut slowly build them the mud mixed with grass and thistles heart ceilings (Yoto¥ojolo) dissected the Like chairs sheepskins, goats or cows. Your kitchen must-haves, are made from gourds or calabashes eg rates, spoons, among other items for the kitchen, marking the start of the huge and colorful crafts of Wayuu especially of Wayuu women.

The Wayuu cuisine offers an excellent menu, recommended from here so if you are thinking of traveling, and stop doing it, come and see these fabulous dishes such as roast ham but not in coal embers, ram coconuts, Sisina is meat put in the sun for more than four days completely covered with salt as it only means of maintaining preserved and in good food and delicious dish Frishe which is a mixture of all the viscera of the ham that taste one and only with the most recognized international dishes, and what if offered to take a drink of corn (Ujolu) unique in its style, as if made of more than two days is much better.

Distribution: They live in the state of Zulia, Mérida and Trujillo and their original territory is called La Guajira, in the municipality of Páez, living between Colombia and Venezuela, because they are prior to the creation of nation states, not taking into account their history and customs at the time of establishing the geographical limits. The area is almost deserted and consequently very dry and arid, so one of their needs and requests more frequent is the democratization of the water and the possibility of access to safe drinking water.

Population: It is the largest population in the country, representing approximately 10% of the population of Zulia state, exceed three hundred thousand inhabitants.

Language: belongs to the Arawak family and is called Wayuunaiki.

Housing: Even today we see various types of housing from simple booths to the huts, and kitchens or stoves made with beautiful half-timbered, generally in the home also observed the passage of multiculturalism.

Agriculture: Agriculture is practiced on a small scale, but it is less important than grazing that is the economic base; it is a shifting grazing.

Hunting and Fishing: They do on a smaller scale, but there Wayuu fishermen.


The most developed industry is textiles, followed by ceramics. The women are expert weavers and have retained the beautiful traditional designs in hammocks in the blankets, which are the costumes worn by women and the susu, which are woven handbags, and have also developed many useful objects with colored tissue very showy.

Social Organization

The Wayuu society has a complex structure is matrilineal and clinical in nature, taking about 30 clans. Each with its own territory and its own totem animal. There are still traditional authorities, and there is a specific form of administering justice, the figures of the putchipu who are the bearers of the word and also to help resolve conflicts between the clans. Within the extended family, the ultimate authority rests with the maternal uncle, who is speaking on all domestic and family problems. Within the nuclear family, the children are led virtually the mother’s brother and not by their own biological father. She plays a very important one can say that is the host and organizer of the clan and are very active politically in their society, are also very active and independent.


Marriage is always contracted with a person of another race uteri, with the particularity that implies, by the man’s parents, the dowry to the woman’s parents. The Wayuu occasionally practiced polygamy, which is a framework of prestige. Within Wayuu society, women play an important social role.

Rites y Medicine

The Wayuu have male and female shamans, who for his cures using traditional techniques: singing with maraca, use of snuff, suction of pathogens, etc..

Wayuu culture which combines legends, myths, stories, traditions and customs, oral history jealously kept the elders to tell their children and grandchildren.

Funeral Rites

The bones of the deceased are placed in an urn and women should bathe the deceased. There are two funerals.

The Closure: rite of passage in culture Wayuu

Girl Wayuu
The closure is the ritual by which girls becomes a woman and learn to behave as such by the traditions of the Wayuu society. At this stage, the child will instill core values ​​such as respect, responsibility, honesty, solidarity and love, among others, and are advised on how to behave. In addition, he taught household tasks and the most important task for a woman Wayuu: the art of weaving.
This instruction is in charge of the mother or grandmother and begins when the girl gets her first period. Since then separated from other family members in a room divided by a curtain which hangs a hammock up high.
In the days that the girl has her period, the lower the dinghy just to bathe in the mornings because it is believed that the cold helps remove impurities and evil thoughts.

To bathe her, the mother or the grandmother sitting on a stone and have prepared a Múcura cold water. Then bring to a lucky person (this means, a woman who is respected, who married well, which has done well in life) to the bath and cut his hair.
Also, during these days, give the girl medicinal drinks (jawapi, kaswo’uy Palisse) and as food a mixture of a beer porridge without sugar and milk without fatty.

All this in order that the child is a woman with a good physical condition.
At the end of the closure, grandma and mom dad will be notified to the output of your daughter to prepare and present in society as a lady (majayut). The father, then buys new clothes blankets, necklaces earrings, cotizas, etc., and invite friends and neighbors to a big party where majayut begins the dance yonna with one of the young guests.
The duration of confinement varies. Before lasted about five years but now runs from one month to one-year maximum.

Dance Wayuu

Paradise land in Colombia’s Guajira, the Wayuu inhabits, an indigenous community that lives rooted in their customs, among which is the Yonna dance, they perform this ritual to cure diseases, to protect them from predators, and other things that should be important in their culture.

In the villages, the Wayuu people welcome tourists and offer different forms of their culture, becoming a small source of income, danced for tourists who visit, who also dress in traditional attire and they paint their faces, to make part of their beliefs with the Dance of Yonna.

Traditional dance of the Wayuu Indigenous

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