Rice Cutting Bees (Juntas de Corta de Arroz)

Rice cutting Bees are very cheerful gatherings intended to create bonds within the community. This activity consists of manually harvesting rice with a blade-type instrument called an“avión” (plane). A participant cuts a considerable amount of ears of rice with the “avión” by ushering them in “Manotadas” (handfuls). The handfuls are grouped with others and put in a mound in the middle of the sown field or under a roof called a “Comején” (termite mound), so that the rice will lose its moisture. This activity is accompanied by alcoholic drinks such as the traditional “chicha de junta” or “chica de maíz fuerte”, as well as traditional foods. It is common for some of the workers to sing “decimas” songs during the task to express their joy and to encourage others. These activities often require a lot of manpower and that owners of nearby farmlands volunteer during the summer harvest season to “pagar el peon” (pay the worker), a phrase used in the region to express the reciprocity shown by neighboring farmers to each other in this gesture of communal brotherhood.


Author: Irving Vergara