Legends of Guatemala

Legends of Guatemala


Guatemala is known throughout all of Latin America and in other parts of the world for its many legends. These legends have come from folklore passed through generations for centuries and centuries. Four of the most popular legends in the country are La Llorona, El Sombreŕon, the Cadejo and Tatuana.

The town of Antigua known for its centuries-old colonial ruins and cobblestone streets has nearly as many legends as it does ruins. Many locals say all four of these legends haunt the streets of this beautiful town located in a fertile valley only 30 minutes from Guatemala City.

La Llorona or “weeping woman” is known to cry for her drowned illegitimate child, while sitting on a riverbank. The legend says she is the one who killed her child so she can be with the man she loves. The man is said to have rejected her so she eventually took her own life. When she tries to enter the afterlife, she is questioned about her children and not allowed in until she finds them. She is destined to life on Earth searching for them in vain. Some versions say she kidnaps wandering children or those that do not obey their parents. Many claim she comes out only at night to weep along the riverbanks throughout the city and the rest of the country.

El Sombreŕon is one of the most famous legends and fictional characters in all of Guatemala. He is a short man with a black dress and a thick black belt. Of course, the main piece of his outfit is the huge sombrero (hence his name) he wears along with the boots he wears that make loud noise as he walks around town.

He is known to mount horses and braid their manes and tails. If there are no horses around, he braids the tails of dogs. He also likes to serenade young women with long hair and beautiful eyes. He finds the one he likes, braids her hair, serenades her with his guitar and puts dirt in her food so she cannot sleep or eat. During a full moon is when he has been spotted the most in Guatemala.

The Cadejo can be either white or black and good or evil. The spirit appears during the night to travelers in Guatemala. The white cadejo appears to protect from harm any traveler during their journey. The black or evil cadejo appears to kill the traveler. The cadejo is also said to appear to guard drunks against those that want to hurt or rob them. It is said to have a goat like smell and no one should turns their back on the cadejo or risk going crazy.

The legend of the Tatuana is a very traditional character in Guatemalan folklore. Its origin dates back to when the capital city of Guatemala Santiago de los Caballeros (Antigua) was transferred to present day Guatemala City. Legend says the Tatuana was a witch who was captured and sentenced to be executed. However, while awaiting her death, she drew a sailboat on the wall of her cell with a piece of charcoal, cast a spell and sailed away in the boat.

Guatemala is a country rich in tradition, culture, custom and folklore and around every bend in the road; there is adventure to be found in both today’s world and the folkloric legends of days past. Throughout your travels in Guatemala, you will hear about the four legends and how they are maintained and honored in the daily lives and activities in communities throughout the country.

Date posted: 13th December, 2014

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