Guatemala is a country where legends and mysteries are a very important part of their culture. Its most legends are well known in the neighboring countries of Central America and Mexico even though the stories may have some variations.
In Guatemala there were legendary and creepy creatures that punished people who committed some wrong. Or so the legends that still frighten many, like the legend of La Llorona, the Sombrerón, Siguanaba the Cadejo and many more.
These legends speak of apparitions that emerge in place, usually at night, and have human form but lacking a body part such as the head, arm or leg.
In Guatemala City it is told that even the devil lives in a haunted house, in such a place as Soledad Alley, Alley Anima Sola or the plain of Gerona. Surely such legends are not only specific to Guatemala. In fact, most countries in the world have their stories and rarely there are any towns that the people do not have similar stories that have been passed down orally among the population.
The Nobel Prize winner Miguel Angel Asturias published in 1930 “Legends of Guatemala”. This book collects the stories of Guatemala Maya, the homeland of the author, and anthropology studies shows that Michel Angel introduced indigenous civilizations of Central America while he was in France at the Sorbonne University. According to the critic Jean Franco, this book offers a lyrical recreation of the folklore of Guatemala, which draws inspiration from sources of colonial and pre-Columbian times. This book is very important for Guatemalan people, as many claim to have had similar experiences to those who told him stories which have been passed from generation to generation for centuries.
Here are some of the legends that have drawn the attention of not only Guatemalans but also foreigners who for some reason or another have been interested in the legends such as “La Llorona” (The weeping woman).
The Llorona (The weeping woman)
(If you want to read the whole story this is the link. This version is slightly different from the summary in this blog: La Llorona)
In Guatemalan version, Moaning Banshee is the soul of a Creole woman (Spanish descent) or a mestiza (racially mixed woman), but in both cases with a high socioeconomic status. Legend has it that the woman named Mary had an affair with a young man of her property while her husband was on a trip. Mary became pregnant because of this relationship. Distraught, she ended drowning her son (in some versions there are two or three children) in a river once he was born. The legend tells that the child was called John of the Cross. For this crime the woman was sentenced to repeat her scream “Oh, my son!” for eternity, sometimes the phrase is “Oh! Where is my son? John of the Cross!”
According to tradition, the Llorona wanders the lonely streets and frequently at the places where there is water, such as ponds, rivers, springs or tanks. Her plaintive cries frighten the bravest and paralyze the fearful. Many say they have seen and heard her. It says that when it sounds close, in reality it is far away and vice versa. It will take the life if the person wears underwear inside out. That is considered to be a womanizer that deceive a woman. It says that whoever speaks to her lose his life, and a man haunted by La Llorona is saved only if a woman takes his hand. She only attacks the spectrum lonely men. It also says if you hear the cry, you should try to move and not stay frozen with fear. The person has to flee before hearing the third Llorona cry or she will take your life. To avoid running into her or scare her off the person will pray to his favorite saint or repeat the traditional Catholic prayers.
For our intermediate and advance level students, it will be a great practice for you to translate this in Spanish. The Spanish translation will be posted within a week.