Heritage Edition – Tales & Legends (Hispanic Heritage)


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Leslie Garcia, Writer

Have you ever heard of La Llorona? One of the most famous legends heard in Mexico is about La Llorona.  La Llorona is a weeping woman, a version of a ghost who is not dead but is also not alive. She weeps loudly at night, usually while wandering around lakes and rivers in Mexico, because she is looking for her children. There are many ways this story has been told, but the overall story is about a mother whose children drowned in a river. One of the legends about La Llorona is about a woman named Maria who married a handsome rich man and ended up having two children (vanityfair.com). Their marriage wasn’t perfect, for as time passed by, her husband spent less time at home and when he was home, he’d only spend time with his children. This made Maria very angry in that she drowned her two children. After she realized what she had done, she yelled out “Ay, mis hijos!”(“Oh, my children!”). It also has been said that after killing her kids, she drowned herself. After killing herself, Maria got to Heaven’s gate, but was denied entry, so she had to go back to Earth until she found her missing children (vanityfair.com). Since her children’s drowning, she spends her time crying while searching for her children in rivers and lakes all around Mexico. Some people believe that she kidnaps children to replace the ones that she lost. People say she has long black hair, wears a white gown, and is tall and thin (the mujerista.com). In Mexico, and around the world, they can hear the crying of La Llorona saying “mis hijos” as she walks around in the streets late at night. Therefore, many parents tell their children to not be out late or near rivers/lakes when it’s dark outside because La Llorona might appear and confuse them for her missing children.


A love story that is commonly heard in Mexico is about Popocatepetl & Iztaccihuatl, two volcanoes that are in Mexico City, whose story is similar to Romeo and Juliet’s. The story begins with a chief having a beautiful daughter named Princess Iztaccihualt, who fell in love with one of her tribe’s greatest warriors, Popocatepetl (theculturetrip.com). When he asked her father for her hand in marriage, the answer was yes so long as Popocatepelt won the war. While he was away at war, Citlaltepeltl (jealous lover) had told Iztaccihuatl that Popocatepetl had been killed at war. She began crying until her heart stopped beating and unfortunately she passed away. Once Popocatepetl returned from the war, he found out that his lover had died and he became very sad. He began wandering around in the streets all day and night grieving for her. After that “he actually built her an enormous tomb and carried her body to the top and he knelt beside her with a smoking torch to watch over her” (theculturetrip.com). Later on, he passed away because of his sadness and his body was put next to her tomb. As time passed by, they were both covered with snow and eventually became what they are now volcanoes. People say that the volcano of Iztaccihuatl is the shape of a reclining woman while Popocatepelt’s volcano is the shape of a kneeling man. The legends say that his volcano is active and erupts once in a while due to the pain of losing his love. However, what happened to the jealous lover you may ask? He also became a distant volcano which is known as Pico de Orizaba and is forced to witness the everlasting love of Popocatepetl and Iztaccidualtl for lifetimes.

Is la pascualita just a mannequin? Or is she a mummified corpse? La pascualita is a mannequin in a bridal store in Chihuahua that has some physical features that look real. Her hands are two of the most realistic-looking human hands, and her legs even have varicose veins. The legend started when the daughter of the owner was going to get married, but was tragically bitten by a black widow spider that poisoned her. She, unfortunately, passed away that same day (allthatsinterestings.com). After she passed away, a mannequin appeared in the store. She bore a strong resemblance to the owner’s daughter, Pascuala Esparza. Legends say that the mannequin moves around during the night because, in the morning, she’s in a different place from the one she was in the night before. Customers also say that her eyes follow them throughout the store and that sometimes when they turn around, they find her in a different position. It has been said that a French magician was so interested in the bridal mannequin that he would visit her each night and bring her to life to be able to dance with her. He would take her out around town and return her to the store in the morning. It hasn’t been confirmed whether she’s just a mannequin in which case people are just making up stories about her. At least it is a place that is being visited more often thanks to these stories, bringing good business for the owner.