Did you know that…
- The president of the Republic is the godparent of the seventh son born to any family. However, it is the edecán (aide-de-camp) who attends the christening on behalf of the president. It is said that this tradition began in 1907 when a Russian immigrant asked President José Figueroa Alcorta to be the godfather to his seventh son. This man believed that this would reverse the curse of the werewolf, as was commonly believed in Czarist Russia. The Czar has been long gone but the tradition is very much alive in Argentina.
- It is customary to eat gnocchi (potato dumplings called ñoquis in Argentina) on the 29th of each month, a tradition probably introduced by Italian immigrants. Gnocchi – made of potato, flour and salt- were a cheap meal, ideal for the last days of the month when money was tight. Don’t forget to place some money under the plate to attract good luck and fortune.
- The national sport of Argentina is not football but pato (I can see Maradona and Messi frowning at this.) The sport of pato (horseball) was first played in 1610 in Buenos Aires. Pato is Spanish for duck, which was used then in lieu of a ball. The live duck was later replaced by a stuffed leather ball with handles. Pato is played on horseback and the object of the game is to snatch the pato from the opposing team.
- Contrary to widespread belief, Ernesto “Che” Guevara was not Cuban but Argentinean. He was born in the city of Rosario in 1928.
- When an animal, such as a lion cub or a baby elephant, is born at any zoo, it is (human) children who choose its name. There usually is a suggestion box outside the cage. The zoo director randomly chooses a slip of paper with a name on it and announces the winning moniker.