Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Taino Higuera Gourd Use

Did You Know: The Taínos people used Higuera or calabash gourds for many daily activities. Higuera (Crescentia cujete) were used as containers for food storage, for washing food, drinking and holding water. The higuera was also used to make eating utensils, and the contents of certain gourds were even used as medicine. One ingenious use of the larger higuera was for hunting waterfowl. Taíno hunters would place gourds in the water as decoys so the waterfowl would land on or near them. Once the waterfowl became used to the presence of gourds in the water, the Taíno would strap gourds on top of their head and slowly enter the water. They would swim among the birds and floating gourds without being spotted. Then, they would grab the waterfowl by the neck or the feet and drown them. Finally, higuera were also used for ceremonial activities as special containers or in the construction of maraka (rattles). – UCTP Taino News © 2009