Photo by Paulo Neves check out his work here.

This is an Açaí berry, and it plays an important part of Brazilian culture.

According to Brazilian folklore, there was once a great tribe that lived where is now the city of Belém. Food was scarce, and it was difficult to feed the entire tribe. Then the chief Itaki took a very cruel decision. He decided that from that day, all newborn children would be sacrificed to prevent the increase of that forest tribe.

Until one day the daughter of the chief, named Iaçá, gave birth to a girl. Iaçá was desperate, crying every night of nostalgia. She spent several days cloistered in her hollow asking, praying for God’s messenger, Tupã to show his people another way, without the sacrifice of children.

One moonlit night, Iaçá heard a child crying. She approached the door of her hut and saw her smiling daughter at the foot of a large palm tree. She launched towards her daughter, hugging her. But mysteriously, her daughter disappeared.

Iaçá, inconsolable, cried until she could cry no more. The next day, her body was found embracing the trunk of the palm tree. But her face has happy smile, her eyes staring towards the top of the palm tree, laden with dark little fruits.

Chief Itaki then sent a young boy to catch him the fruits, obtaining a reddish wine that he named Açaí (“Iaçá” backwards), in honor of his daughter. He fed his people and, from this day, he suspended the order to sacrifice children.

Story by: Nicholas Graham Platt

Photo by Paulo Neves check out his work here.