Everything You Need to Know About La Llorona

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The story of La Llorona is told throughout Latin America as a cautionary tale, to scare children and young women into proper behavior. In case you haven’t heard of her, we at Remezcla have decided to keep you safe and on your toes this October by letting you in on her tale.

Adriana Lamar in “La Llorona” (1933)
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Stories of her origins differ. Some say there was a young woman named Maria (in Mexico, they say she is La Malinche herself) who was so beautiful that all the men of her town would swoon as she passed and shower her with their amorous intentions. Maria loved the attention, and was sure she deserved it, and would flirt with all the men at the fandangos and show off. Maria was Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton rolled into one – though of much more modest means – the center of attention wherever she went. There was just one problem: Maria had two sons, and caring for them interfered with her lifestyle, not to mention any chances of getting a man of high class and respectability to actually settle down and marry her.  Her solution? Drown her sons in a river.

Others say Maria, still the most beautiful in her town, refused to marry any of the men of her poor village. Being the most beautiful woman, she wanted to marry the most handsome and dashing man. One day, such a man arrived – a manly, virile man of great wealth and talent. He wooed her, and she played hard to get, but eventually she relented (as she had always planned to) and married the man. They were happy, for a time, and she bore him two sons. Whether because of his work or sheer boredom, however, the handsome man began to change. He would leave for long periods of time, and when he would return home he would only pay attention to the boys while ignoring his wife. Some say the man was a boozer and a womanizer. Finally, the man returned one day in a carriage, a beautiful young woman of his own station by his side, visited his two sons, and left again. Enraged, Maria took it upon herself to drown the boys in a river.

All agree that after the chilling murder of the children, Maria became deeply remorseful. She waited by the river for the boys to return. When that didn’t happen, she embarked on a search, wandering throughout the land. Some say that, when she finally died in agony (so consumed was she by the search that she did not eat or sleep) she arrived at the gates of Heaven and was asked where her children were. When she could not answer, she was denied entrance to the afterlife until she finds them. Her weeping spirit, now known as La Llorona, wanders the Earth, crying “Ay, mis hijos!”

Misbehaving children in Latin America are often warned that, if they misbehave, La Llorona will kidnap them. Maria’s story is told to young women as a warning not to be too proud of their looks, or trust in the empty promises of suitors.

Also, Hello Seahorse! did this:

Good times! Do you know a scary Latin legend/story/myth we should cover this Halloween season? Let us know in the comments!