Like many other indigenous communities in Colombia, these indigenous peoples have a millenary culture that has not only taught us their worldview but also their artisanal wealth. Wayuu people are located in the Guajira peninsula.


This population, who lives in the northernmost area of ​​Colombia and part of Venezuela, carries with it a very marked and diverse tradition typical of its territory. In this blog, we will show you the most important aspects of their culture.


Important aspects of Wayuu customs

Colombians are characterized because they are mostly mestizo. This means that they are a mixture of inhabitants from Africa, Spanish, and indigenous. 


It is correct to think that education and the institutions of greater power are predominantly inherited by the Spanish, however cultural aspects such as music, dances, gastronomy, and especially handicrafts were inherited by indigenous people and Africans. 


This becomes more evident depending on the sector where there is more accentuation of these communities. For example, on the Colombian Caribbean coast, you can see different indigenous tribes whose activities are still preserved today. 


As we have said previously, the Wayúu indigenous people are an ancient population. Thanks to its evolution as a society and community, its cultural manifestations have become more visible.



Symbology in the Wayuu: of animals and family clans

The Wayuu symbolism is iconic and their culture is millenary.


They captured everything they saw around them. From the movement of the Trupillo trees to the footprints of the community's horses.


These traditional motifs are called Kanaas and are the most authentic expression of how the Wayuu interpret and abstract elements from their material world and from their daily lives, to create stylized figures of great symbolism.


Among them is the genitalia of donkeys, the shells of turtles, and constellations of stars, among others.

Pulikerüüya. The vagina of the donkey. Wayúu symbolism. Ekiitaya

Photo: Pulikerüüya. The vagina of the donkey


Another type of symbolism representative of this indigenous culture is the symbols of the clans. 


This population is characterized by being a community organized by families. 


Each family has a surname and this surname is taken from the mother and not from the father as is customary in other societies. 


Another type of symbolism representative of this indigenous culture is the symbols of the clans. 


This population is characterized by being a community organized by families. 


Each family has a surname and this surname is taken from the mother and not from the father as is customary in other societies. 


Music and dance of the Wayuu community

Music and dance have great relevance. Without them, cultural expressions would be limited and colorless.


The musical instruments of the indigenous are the drum, the Sawawa clarinet, the Horn, among others. These elements are fundamental to develop harmony for Wayuu dances.


The most important Wayuu dance is the Yonna.


The Yonna is a traditional dance used to honor guests. It is also used when two families meet or present applicants for marriage.


They congregate in a circle to watch the development of the Yonna, after hearing the drum roll inviting them. 


As the guests watch, a man enters the pioi. The pioi is a meeting space that the Wayuu culture have for their parties.

Yonna dance. Wayúu indigenous culture. Dance of indigenous woman and indigenous Wayúu man in La Guajira, Colombia.

Photo: The Yonna dance

Once inside the pioi, the indigenous women present are challenged.


One of the men goes to meet her, circles the pioi, approaches the man, turns around to introduce himself to the audience, and dances with the man until she gets tired or knocks him down since these are the only two reasons to leave the track and give the turn to a new partner.


Oral tradition

The stories and legends of them are simply beautiful and mystical. Our favorite in Ekiitaya is undoubtedly the one in Walekerü.


Legend says there was a spider known as Walekerü, who secretly wove girdles and backpacks under the moonlight. One night a girl named Iwa came up to him to praise his skill with the thread. The spider moved, offered to teach her her most precious treasure: the art of weaving. For several moons, the girl knitted non-stop until she achieved the ability to reproduce the art of her teacher, the spider. 

Walekerü, the spider that taught the Wayúu to weave. Ekiitaya

Photo: Walekerü

When the wayuu children reached adulthood, with her first menstruation, the spider disappeared among the branches of a tree, leaving the traditional Wayuu technique as an inheritance.


In addition to Walekerü, there are other traditional legends such as 'The woman with the dentate vagina', Talawayuupana, among others.


Without a doubt, they are legends that transport us to a magical world, to the primitive world of the indigenous people and their worldview.


Colombian Handicrafts

Handbags are the highest expression of the handicrafts of this tribe since they are widely used by locals and foreigners thanks to their diversity, striking colors, and their usefulness.


This traditional bag carries with it a large part of the heritage of the indigenous people and their entire culture, as it is here where most of their symbols are embodied. 


It is said that they learned to weave thanks to a mythical spider called Wale'kerü, as we mentioned above. This spider would create magical pieces using thread from its mouth. Wale'kerü is the one who taught all women to crochet. 


Some of these crochet items are hammocks, belts, shoes, bracelets, bags, among other creations.


Previously, the Wayuu indigenous people used natural materials from their environment to make and dye the threads of their fabrics.


This ancient transformation has been replaced by industrially processed raw materials, especially fine mercerized cotton yarns, yarns, and acrylic fibers in bright colors.


Wayúu bags come in different sizes, shapes, and decorations. The one that is most characterized is the Susu whose style matches that of the modern and relaxed woman of today. The Susu backgs also have special designs with bright colors that make the wearer stand out from the crowd.


Susu bag made by a Wayúu indigenous woman from La Guajira. Ekiitaya Terra Mochila GrandeBag

Photo: Mochila Terra Ekiitaya


The importance of the fabrics of their culture is evidenced more and more in their exhibition at an international level. Women from all over the world are increasingly aware of handmade art and without a doubt, a Colombian handmade backpack brings together all the characteristics of beauty and millenary work, representing one of the most important Colombian crafts.


If you want to know more about the types of traditional "Mochilas Wayuu" that are made by hand, here is an article that can help you learn more about them!


Wayuu tribes Gastronomy

They are characterized by being an ethnic group that lives in a community. They settle on land outside the city, with groups of families ranging from 2 to 6 per land.


The area or territory where families are grouped is called Ranchería.


Thanks to the formation of a solid community, this allows them to share the responsibility of caring for the goats, caring for the harvest, among other activities.


When there is harvest time and there is a lack of personnel to be able to extract the fruit of what is sown, people from other communities are called for help. This is the perfect occasion to have a great party.


The party consists of the preparation of typical foods such as Friche, Arroz con Camarones, along with chicha and other accompaniments.



The importance of the Wayuu culture and of all the indigenous cultures of the world is immense. It helps us to know where we come from and be very sure where we can go. These cultures marked the pattern, the beginning, and contributed to the current human being all the wisdom for our survival. 


Last but not least, they transmitted to us all the artistic knowledge that has undoubtedly marked our generations. A legacy that touches our intellect and feelings.

At Ekiitaya we are proud of all this legacy and proud of helping these tribes at the same time.


If you want to know more about the indigenous tribes, visit us here!