Pope Francis and the drink of Peace: Yerba Mate


In the midst of political, religious, national, economic or personal problems, there is one thing that unites all Argentines: Mate.

Mate (pronounced máh-teh) despite what many people may say, is NOT in fact a herbal green tea although it is similar to one. Mate is a tea-like drink made from a green-colored jerboa (herb) that is a lot more robust than tea. For Argentines, mate is the very heart of life and is part of their tradition. It is drunk by the old and young, rich and poor, Peronists and Radicals, parents and children, during winter and summer.

pope_yerbamate pope_yerbamate

After years of conflict, Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner greeted the new Pope Francis with a beautiful mate set – el “mate de la paz” – after which the pope asked her to stay for lunch with “unos mates” to follow”. Rocco Palmo noted on the occasion that: “A longstanding Vatican protocol forbids the Pope being seen consuming anything but the Eucharist”, but this did not stop him being photographed enjoying the drink.


The gourd and bombilla used to drink yerba mate is a traditional symbol of connection and a ritual of community and peace. When drinking Yerba Mate this way, you share the gourd and bombilla with your fellow drinkers, whether friends, family or colleagues which unites you.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Mateo says:

    Great post, LookSouthTours!

    I love how well you articulated the meaning of the drink, and how it was essentially a bridge between two “opposing” sides of a political conflict.

    Would you mind if I reposted this on http://www.mateovermatter.com? People will love it.

    Let me know!

    Drink on!

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