Today, cocoa butter (made from the cacao bean) is widely used in body butters and moisturizers for its powerful skincare benefits. It’s a signature ingredient in our best-selling Head To Toe Beauty Butter and Rose Lip Balm. To many native tribes in tropical Latin America, the cacao bean has been a sacred fruit for thousands of years. In celebration of Indigenous People’s Day, I wanted to share about the Bribri tribes that live in the tropical forests of southern Costa Rica and the significance of the cacao bean in their culture.
In Bribri mythology, Sibú (God) transformed a woman into a cacao tree and only women can prepare and serve their sacred cacao in special rituals. For example, a ceremonial cacao mixture was used to cleanse a mother and her newborn two days after the birth.
Women also had a significant role in society. Clans were determined by the female lineage and women were the only ones allowed to inherit property.
The Bribri are also very spiritually connected to nature. Knowing the world was round, the Bribri dwellings are conical houses built with eight pillars that represent the animals that helped Sibú create the universe. Conceptually the universe is a double cone with a total of eight levels. On one side, four levels symbolizing our journey to Sibú and higher spirituality; and on the opposite a four level underworld.
Skincare Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter itself is the fat extracted from the cacao bean during the cocoa powder making process. This rich, fatty butter contains a high concentration of antioxidants and is one of the most effective natural ingredients to maintain skin elasticity. This is why cocoa butter is recommended during and after pregnancy as a deep moisturizer that can help reduce stretch marks and scars. It is also known to help with sensitive skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.
Inspired by the story of the sacred cocoa bean and the rituals performed by the Bribri women, create your own skincare ritual to indulge in. Perhaps it’s applying the Head To Toe Beauty Butter every evening before bed. Or blending it with your favorite essential oil to awaken your senses.
The Bribri Culture Today
Though the Bribri are one of the largest indigenous groups in Costa Rica only an estimated 10,000 remain. Bribri women’s associations still produce organic cocoa, handcraft chocolate and continue sacred traditions.
To learn more about the Bribri, or donate, please visit:
Tap Tap Organics is a skincare experience inspired by the greenest place on Earth, Costa Rica. Thank you for spending the time to read about meaning behind the ingredients used in my formulations!