Wednesday, November 1, 2023

La Llorona and Malinche, two connected tales for Day of the Dead

I closed Monstrum on 'The Golden Age of Movie Monsters' for Halloween with a program note.
That's it for Halloween, but spooky season continues for one more day with Day of the Dead. I'm feeling like continuing with Monstrum's examination of Mexican monsters. Stay tuned to see if I follow through with that thought.
I am, although I found only one uniquely Mexican monster among the many that Monstrum has examined, The Legend of La Llorona.*

The legend of La Llorona, the “weeping woman,” has terrified generations. This female ghost wanders in the darkness, crying as she searches for her children--the children she murdered. Some even say that she will capture other kids in her desperation. How could a murderous mother become such a cultural symbol?

In this episode, Dr. Zarka traces the history of La Llorona back hundreds of years, showing how her story represents the social history of greater Mexico from Aztec religion to the Spanish Conquistadors.
A special thank you to my students at Mesa Community College for sharing their La Llorona stories, and to Arizona State University’s Dr. Marivel Danielson for her expertise in Chicana/Latina literature.
Connecting La Llorona to Mexico's colonial history in general and Malinche in particular is an angle I hadn't encountered before, serving as an example of why I enjoy Dr. Zarka's videos. For more about Malinche and her role in the conquest of Mexico, watch NativLang's How Interpreters Helped Topple the Aztec Empire.

Travel to old Mexico. Uncover the linguistics behind the legend of La Malinche and the conquest of Montezuma's Aztecs!
This video tells the history of the translators involved in major early events of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. See how Classical Nahuatl, Chontal Maya, Spanish and Montezuma's flowery Aztec poetry all contributed to political decisions that led to the fall of the Aztecs.
NativLang is my favorite language channel on YouTube and I've watched all of the videos on it, so I'm surprised I've never shared any of them here in more than a dozen years. I'm glad to finally have the opportunity.

I close with a drink recipe, La Llorona Drink Recipe -, created for Day of the Dead.

La Llorona is a traditional story in [Hispanic] culture, told around Dia de los Muertos. Our drink contains tequila, blue curacao, fresh lemon and lime, orange bitters, and lime Jarritos. This drink was suggested by our viewer Erica Vela, right outta the 916.

The Legend of the Weeping Woman, or La Llorona, started about 500 years ago. Many people feel it has its roots in history (Ferdinand Cortes and his mistress). The traditional story: A village girl named Maria is the most beautiful girl in her village, but she wants not just any scrub from her village, she wants a wealthy muthafukka who is handsome and has it going on. Eventually she meets a wealthy ranchero, the son of a prestigious rancher with inheritance in his future. This cat is a steady rollin' kind of man. He likes the lonesome prairie, and he's a rambler. He does marry Maria, and has two kids, but eventually, his heart calls him back to the ranchero life. He spends longer and longer amounts of time out on the plains. When he does come home, he dotes on the children, but ignores Maria.

She's getting fed up with this guy's bullsh*t. Turns out his parents don't even know he's married to her, and they want him to marry someone from his social stratus, a lady with aristocracy behind her name.

So, next time her husband is rolling through town, she sees him with some other B*TCH riding next to him on his carriage. Maria is PISSED. She grabs her two children and drowns them in the river. When she finally comes to her senses, she realizes what she's done, and commits suicide by drowning herself in the same river.

When Maria goes to heaven, the guardian of the pearly gates asks her where her children are. They're on to her game up there. She is banished back to Earth; she cannot enter heaven without her kids.

La Llorona is said to appear near rivers or bodies of water, looking for children she can abduct, so that she may enter heaven. This story is seen as sort of a cautionary tale not only for kids to stay close to home and not wander off, but also to young women who look to be gold-diggers, because in the end they get played out.

Muddle :
2 oz tequila
Half a lime
Half a lemon
0.5 oz blue curacao
Dash orange bitters
Top with Jarritos limon soda
Lime wedge
Lemon wedge
So ends spooky season. Stay tuned for non-holiday programming tomorrow. In the meantime, drink responsibly.

*Monstrum also has a video about chupacabras, but those are originally Puerto Rican monsters, even though reports of them come from Mexico as well and the Mexican version is different. I'll save that for a future PiƱa Colada Day.

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