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Legends in Paraguay -- The legend of Pora-sy and Tarova

Updated on March 20, 2012

There is a legend that tells how the Iguassu Falls came into being. This like other creation legends the active deity in the story was an animal, in this case a snake. It was said that the Iguassu River was occupied by Mboi jaguar, a giant snake with magical powers. According to the legend a beautiful young Guarani girl, Pora-sy, would wash in the waters daily, and Mboi would stop the waters flowing as a sign of admiration for her.

With time, this came to the attention of the Mburuvicha, chief, of the tribe, and he decided that Pora-sy should become totally devoted to Mboi to gain his favour for her community, but there was a young man, a rebellious member of the tribe called Tarova who disagreed.

During the celebrations to consecrate Pora-sy to Mboi the young rebel Tarova kidnapped the young girl, and they tried to escape down the IguassuRiver in a canoe. Angry at this brash move Mboi promptly moved under the river bed and with a snapping of his giant body he created the IguassuFalls just ahead of the escaping couple. Pora-sy and Tarova fells into the abyss of the falls and drowned, never to be seen again.

The legend of Pora-sy and Tarova
The legend of Pora-sy and Tarova

The legend of Pora-sy and Tarova

Mboi transformed Pora-sy into a rock beneath the falling waters of the IguassuFalls, and Tarova became a palm tree, standing on the border of the abyss. Mboi intended that the young couple should never come together again. Yet it is said that the young lovers still today defy Mboi and find a way to come together. It is said in sunny days when the sunlight shines through the mist of the waterfalls a rainbow appears with its extremes touching both the rock and the palm tree. Its only brief and said Mboi does not notice. Tarova and Pora-sy’s love still defies the powerful Mboi today, and it is said that this can be witnessed when visiting the IguassuFalls.

This story was one of a series all passed down from one generation to the next within the Paraguayan culture. The Guarani beliefs are so strong it seems that even today they are held true, forming part of the culture of Paraguay. The names given to the characters only add to the meaning as Pora-sy means ‘mother of beauty’, Mboi is commonly used to refer to snakes, and Tarova means crazy in Guarani. This story is not thought strange but are considered part of the culture of Paraguay and the spirit of the falls.

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