(Update 1: Changes headline, lede, adds details, updates data)
La Araucanía, Chile, May 21 (EFE).- About 500 Mapuche women gathered on Saturday in La Araucanía, southern Chile, to break a world record by creating a weaving 1 kilometer long and 50 centimeters wide, in the colors of the “relmu,” rainbow in the Mapudungun language.
It was a titanic effort that fell just 100 meters short of its primary objective, but that was not a detriment for the 426 women who gathered in the coastal city of Puerto Saavedra, 766 kilometers south of the capital.
The previous record was held by some Chinese weavers who in 2017 made one of almost 280 square meters.
“Lately in the world there have been many storms, a lot of pain, a lot of bloodshed… With this, what we intend is to show that a people can unite and deliver a bit of joy, of peace, through these colors,” Patricia Huinca, from the Chilka Foundation and coordinator of the project, told EFE.
For the feat, a ton of Dohne Merino sheep wool was used, which comes from Tierra del Fuego, in the extreme south of the American continent.
“We have always woven inside our houses, locked up. Nobody knew about our activity, about our fabrics, but today we are going to make ourselves known to the world,” added Huinca.
The wool was washed and dyed with natural materials to achieve the colors of the rainbow, which represent different values of the Mapuche culture.
Purple, for example, symbolizes che troki wün (respect for the person), while yellow refers to norchewün (acting righteously).
“Most of the colors can be obtained from nature, but there are some that are difficult to find, such as royal blue,” Nelly Calbulao, another Mapuche weaver, told EFE.
The Mapuche live mainly in La Araucanía and other southern areas.
For the first time in the country’s history, indigenous peoples are participating in the drafting of a new constitution, which will define Chile as a multinational state and will recognize ancestral cultures.
“This is a record for Mapuche women, for our strength. We have a lot of nahuen (energy),” another of the participants, who preferred not to give her name, concluded. EFE