The legend of La Llorona

Growing up in California, the Mexican influence is very strong. From having Mexican restaurants in nearly very city in the state, Mexican folklore is very familiar to Californians. One story that we are constantly told as kids is the one of this crying woman. Our Mexican friends usually told us about the story of La llorona.

La llorona Photo courtesy of https://www.mexico.mx/en/articles/horror-stories-the-legend-of-la-llorona

There is a lot variants of this story’s origins. This is a horror story that has been passed down for about 500 years. So, there will always be some details that were changed. For the most commonly told, it’s starts with a beautiful woman named Maria. In reference, I will be sharing the version my friends told me as a kid.

Picture of a beautiful Mexican woman photo courtesy of https://koterohome.com/products/mexican-calendar-girl-by-jesus-helguera

Maria was said to be so beautiful. Her beauty attracted a wealthy rancher. Maria was a very vain woman. She loved attention and being the center of it. This flaw would come back and haunt her.

Eventually, the wealthy rancher and Maria had three children. She loved those kids. After some time, her husband stop paying Maria attention. His focus was more on the ranch and his three children. Maria slowly grew to envy her children.

La llorona photo courtesy of https://www.jeffersonmuncy.com/folklore/llorona?format=amp

One day, Maria saw her husband with his mistress. Lost in rage, she went to her children. Seeing her husband in her children, she took out her anger on them. With her kids, she went to a local river. Drowned each of them, slowly and with cruelty.

After killing her kids, she came back to reality. Maria started to regret what she just did. In guilt, she drowned herself. Now Legend states, her ghost walks rivers of the American Southwest and Mexico looking for children to kill.

This myth brings so much nostalgia to me. It reminds me of the times I spent camping with my friends as a kid. Their parents used to tell us the story of La Llorona so we wouldn’t wander too faraway. Of course, now I do not believe in this story. I just think it was a kid’s horror story. However, as a kid I was truly scared. With all that, still wanted to share this with you all. Next time you are in the southwest usa or mexico, you will be informed in case you hear a woman crying by the river.

Thank you so much for reading! Much love and safe travels! Since it’s October, I will be sharing some American and Latin American folklore.

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California culture folklore/mythology texas travel

22 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thanks for sharing. I grew up in So AZ and never heard it. I have seen that in many stories passed down, that they are created to control. Like you said, you were careful to not get too far from the camping area.

    • Wow that’s intetesting! I thought it would be well known in AZ. Yeah, it’s good in a way but also somewhat limiting of freedom. Glad i outgrow that. Programs installed in us at a young age are keep in place, if we aren’t careful.

  2. This is so sad! More a reflection of the intense sentiment against women back then in the culture, I think. No interactive dynamics about husband and wife as two people. Cautionary tale for sure, but for reasons different than when the story started 😞 I’m glad you posted this, great reminder of what hopefully’ll one day be a truly past culture ❤️

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