Mate: A Friend of Friends Meetings

It is called the drink of the " dearest guests and very close friends ", so when someone calls you to join him and drink with him a glass of Maté, you have to accept his invitation otherwise he will think that you do not like the household and do not respect them.

Sure, It is Maté, the well-known popular drink in the Syrian coastal region, Homs, Al-Qalamoun Mountain area and Al-Sweidaa . It has  established  itself  as one the  basic components of popular culture in Syria.

I liked this drink and I was very curious to know its origin and how it had been introduced to our social culture .So I started to look for the  studies dealing with Maté and following is  the result of my research .

Maté was introduced to the Arab region at the beginning  of the 20th century when many people of the Levant (Belad Al-Sham) ,who  migrated to Southern America and returned back home  bringing this drink with them to their countries. Since then it has become one of the most popular drinks in most areas of this region especially in Syria and Lebanon.

Maté in Syria:

Syria is the biggest importer of Mate where it  imports annually 15 thousand tons.

The most consumption of Mate' is concentrated in Homs and Hama  and in the Syrian coastal villages. At the end of the twentieth century, Mate has become  the most  popular drink for many areas, particularly in Tartous and its countryside. There are some villages like 'Annazeh' where people are drinking Maté adding some local herbs of natural origin - plants such as thyme , wild mint and hyssop .This gives it  more pleasure and good taste. Recenty, many people used to eat nuts while they are drinking  yerba Mate as a new ritual tradition of drinking yerba mate that has been rooted in many regions, cities and villages in Syria.

Benefits of yerba Mate


A lot of Mate lovers and many specialists stressed that Maté is very useful in the problems of indigestion and  headaches. It can be considered also as one of energy drinks and serve to reduce the weight and  blood sugar. Yerba mate has been also described as digestive and nutritious . It does not cause  any hurt on heart and nerves such as coffee although it contains caffeine so it generates activity in muscles and nerves and reduces headaches, breathlessness.

 After I polled a group of friends and relatives about this drink, where I asked them, "What does this drink means for them "I got different  answers. A friend said:

In the days of baccalaureate, I used to attend some private lessons at an English teacher in the region, he was drinking yerba mate day and night, and explains that it helps him lose weight, and every week he was giving  us a detailed statistical about his weight, "to make us believe him. He was always urging us to drink Mate as if he wants to tell us Treat with Mate.

Someone else explain his love for Mate  by saying that it helps him to concentrate  during the study, and find it very difficult to study without drinking mate.

"Mate makes meeting with friends more interesting! "When I want to invite  my friend I  tell him "come let us  drink Mate", this  makes him come immediately because he loves yerba mate just like me," he added.

Ddrinking yerba mate is psychologically connected with  community. So to  drink Mate with two or more friends the session will become nicer especially when it is accompanied by conversations,   smoking and enjoying the TV programs with some citrus and nuts. Mate drinkers devoted an important part of their salaries to Mate.

Mate is friend of boredom, laziness, leisure and unemployment and the ritual of drinking  Mate needs to spend long periods of time, not like tea and coffee as they may finish in a very short time, so time can only be  destroyed by drinking Mate.

There is no popular daily drink contests Mate's prestigious, but recently, a very close friend of Mate is generated helping  it killing laziness and Leisure without extracting its  kingship status. It is the waterpipe or hubble bubble. Nowadays, the stores and shops are filled with its diverse tools and equipments and began to find a distinctive place in people's lives...


Amal Farhat