Iara Mermaid: Story, Myths, Powers & Facts

In Brazilian mythology, Iara or Uiara (from the tupi, y-îara, “lady of the waters”), also known as Mother-of-Water, is a beautiful mermaid who lives in the Amazon River. In other words the Amazon region of the country was the source of this mythical being. It is believed that Ipupiara, the fierce Iemanjá, and the European mermaid all converged to form this mythical creature, which originates from the Amazon region in the north.

1 Gorgeous Mermaid Has Different Appearances In Different Myths & Stories

Iara Mermaid mythology

In some versions, Iara mermaid is blonde with green or blue eyes, while others claim to have black hair with green brands or totally green hair with brown eyes. It is unclear what color her eyes and hair are, but despite the disagreement regarding Iara’s eyes and hair color, both legends agree that she is extraordinarily beautiful. The blonde characterization is because of European influence, whereas the brown characterization is because of Indigenous influence. These all dissimilarities depend on the region of Brazil.

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2 Legends Of The Amazon’s Iara

Iara Mermaid

There is a wide variety of versions floating around of ‘Iara’ – a mythological creature that is said to have been in the Amazon river. Depending on which account you read, she was either male or female and there are accounts of her seducing men and eating them as well.

In Brazil, there are numerous versions of the Iara myth. Chroniclers in the 16th and 17th centuries recorded that early on, male descendants of Iara called Ipupiara became predatory hunters with a taste for prey who dropped those they caught into soupy waters below.

Mermaid “Iara” is a figure of legend among fishermen, who believe that she seduces all who get too close to the water, and sometimes even transforms into her human form and looks for victims. A mermaid in Brazilian folklore fished out of coastal waters around Amazon during the 18th century, she became mythologized as Iara (Ipupiara is a fish-man in the beginning), symbolizing unfulfilled desires.

Iara leaves her house late at night on the bed of water, appearing half woman half fish with long flowing hair adorned with red flowers. Sometimes she hunts for victims; sometimes she reveals herself in human form or in the other words the beautiful, long-haired mermaid swims to shore late in the afternoon and sometimes appears human as she goes hunting for victims.

The Amazon region is home to a plethora of myths and legends. The native of the Amazon rainforest tell the story of Iara the powerful warrior. In one story, an indigenous peoples tells of the incredible Iara. She was a warrior who had her father speak highly of her while her brothers became jealous of the praise she received. One day, the brothers planned to murder Iara. However, she overheard their plans and decided to murder them first in order to protect herself. After killing the brothers, Iara ran off into the forest but couldn’t avoid capture by her father as castigation for not listening to his warnings. He threw her into the river (Solimões) where she was found by various fish that transformed her into a mermaid thanks to the full moon at night. Alternatively, her brothers killed her and threw her body into the river after killing her. As a result of her pity, the moon goddess, Jaci, turned Iara into a graceful mermaid. Since then, Iara has conquered men and brought them to the bottom of the Amazonian river, where they die due to sinking into the water.

The arrival of Africans at the beginning of slavery led them to mix their beliefs with those of the Christianity and with Indians, as they were forbidden to practice their righteousness. Iara is regarded by some Afro-Brazilian religions as a goddess or as an orisha who is responsible for waterfalls, rivers and even disoriented with the Iemanjá.

3 Ipupiara Version Of The Folklore

The myth of the Iara – or mother of water – is one of the most disputed in Brazilian folklore due to its origins. The Brazilian mermaid would be an origination of the Tupi myth called Ipupiara which was a male watery monster. As it turns out, Ipupiara is male and has always been described as ferocious and brutish in nature and mercilessly attacked people on land.

Câmara Cascudo, regarded as Brazil’s greatest folklorist ever, was unambiguous: “No chronicler of colonial Brazil registers the Mother of Water as a mermaid. He always exists as Ipupiara, who desires nothing more than to attack and devour people.”

The Amazonian Ipupiara is rumored to be a fifteen-foot long aquatic monster that has hair on its body and has very large mustaches. It’s known as the “devil of the waters,” and it kills its victims by a strong hug, rupturing them inside such as snakes. In other words the creature had the power to kill anyone within its grasp by squeezing them inside their ribcage until they died. Other stories say that the Ipupiara doesn’t even eat its victims, instead picking out their eyes, noses, fingers, or even sometimes the genitals. It’s more likely than not that this mystery creature will kill with just one sharp thrust of the blade in the abdomen, then drag that victim away from the waterway to dry.

Cultural hybridization was responsible for the transformation of the fierce Ipupiara into the sweet Iara that still occupies popular imagination. The fierce Ipupiara, the African Iemanjá, and the European mermaid converged to create Iara, the mythical being that we know today.

It was, however, difficult to strike a balance between these cultures. Cascudo points out that it is as a result of the romantic reaction that Gonçalves Dias began to metamorphose Indianism in the other second half of the 19th century. According to Olavo Bilac, who lived during the same period as the Iara, there have been many years when the Iara precisely had fair hair and clear eyes and was referred to as a European mermaid for many years.

4 Abilities & Powers Of The The Iara Mermaid

Iara Mermaid love story

The Iara is a notorious woman that lures men to their death. It sings an entrancing melody that intertwines with the forest’s sounds and glides over the water, attracting men with its powerful voice. When men hear her song, they become enchanted with it and follow it to the water’s edge where they drown themselves in order to find her. In other words once it hears a man’s faint reply, and he follows her voice to the bottom of the river and from there they never come back. The power of lara is so powerful that looking into their eyes is enough to make them fall in love with them. It’s because Iara always wants the men to follow them that she always has evil intentions. What she wants is for her followers to fall in love with her and then drown themselves.

The few who can flinch Iara’s spells end up going insane because of the enchantment she throws at them. The only way to escape the spell is to do a ritual as the Pajé, the indigenous religious leader. It means, only the Pajé, the indigenous religious chief, can perform a ritual in order to get rid themselves from the spell or evil.

It is said in some versions of the legend that the Iara turned into a beautiful woman when she emerged from the margins and water. However, when she is in woman form, all her powers are lost.

5 True Love Story Of Iara Mermaid

Iara Mermaid mythology

As with many others, Jaraguari fell in love with Iara as an Indian from the tribe of Manaus in the other words several Indians from the Manaus tribe fell in love with Iara, including Jaraguari. Despite his strength and boldness, Jaraguari was loved, reputed and also honored in his tribe because he behaved with everyone with friendship and respect. The mother of Jaraguari noticed one day that her son had changed. It was late at night when he returned to the oca, sad and lonely after climbing the Negro River in his igara.

He was looking at his mother anxiously. In her anxious gaze, his mother said, “Why are you coming back so late? What’s the reason for your late return? Be careful of the hazards in the woods, my sonny.

Seeing this young woman swimming amid the flowers of the stream, Jaraguari replied to her mother, Mother, I have never seen anything like it. She has golden hair and her songs are more beautiful than those of the uirapuru….

Suddenly, A terrified mother screamed out: “Iara! You were mesmerized through the Iara. If you don’t abscond from her, you will drown or you’ll end up at the bottom of the sea!”

In spite of his mother’s guidance, Jaraguari did not heed it. Days later, the canoe in which he went fishing became visible as empty, floating in the Negro River waters. It is reported that he was seen with a beautiful mermaid in his arms, and since then has been recognized dead. In spite of this, Iara did not sink her lover, who lives with her in an underwater palace or beneath the sea. The Indians have stopped fishing at night since then. So finally it is believed that he was Iara’s first true love or lara love deeply.