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The Legends of the Amancay Flower


The romantic legend of the local Amancay flower dates back to the days of the native Tehuelche Indians. The folklore is ingrained in the meaning of the flower even today. The story is based on love as is common in mythology.

The tale begins with the forbidden love between a young maiden named Amancay and Quintral, the son of tribe leader Cacique. Quintal believed that his father would forbid the relationship and therefore kept it secret. Despite his joy with his new love, Quintal became deathly ill.

Amancay, in desperation to save her lover, fled to the tribe’s healer, Machi. He told the young woman that she must go to the top of the mountains, find a yellow flower known only to grow upon the summit, and deliver it to her beloved Quintal. She heroically made the climb to the top of the Andes and found the magical flower, only to find out from a great condor that it was a sacred blossom not to be touched. She explained her plight to the giant bird. The condor, feeling her desperation, made a deal with the maiden. In exchange for her heart, he would deliver the flower to Quintal. Believing that her heart was of minimal importance if her lover was to die, she agreed to the swap. The immense condor took Amancay in one claw and the flower in the other.

While in flight, Amancay started to lose blood, which was falling to the ground far below and upon the yellow flower. The condor began to realize the bravery and love that Amancay was showing for Quintal and it made him feel for her situation. He asked the gods to assist him in helping cure the fallen lover and to give an offering out of respect for Amancay’s selfless love. The gods obliged. Quintal was cured and a flower was created from the drops of blood into a new bloom of yellow with splashes of red.

The flower is now considered a symbol of unconditional love. If someone gives you an Amancay flower it is said that they are giving you their heart.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to El Bolson: Crossing Into Chile: Paso Río Puelo, The Legends of Martin Sheffield and The Legend of Dwarves and Fairies in El Bolsón.

By Shanie Matthews
I am a lover of things foreign, animals, and outdoor sports (especially snow skiing). My husband and I originally moved to Argentina as owners and...
28 Nov 2008

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