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Discovering the Finest Depiction of the Myth of La Llorona

The Colonial Version of La Llorona


The Best Version Of The Legend Of La Llorona

In this article, we will explore different variations of the La Llorona legend. Growing up, many of us knew La Llorona as a wailing woman who drowned her children. But which version of the legend is the best to tell?

The Best Version Of The Legend Of La Llorona
Image Source: The Vermilion

La Llorona Variations

La Llorona has regional variations throughout South America, Mexico, and the Southwest of the United States. However, the most famous tale revolves around a peasant woman who married a rich ranchero. They lived happily with their children until the husband brought another woman home, condemning the first wife and children to poverty.

Out of revenge, the woman drowned her children in a river but was consumed with grief and killed herself to search for them in the afterlife. Her sin banned her from heaven, and she wanders in purgatory for her children’s sake. Hispanic children are warned of her cries as she takes them, mistaking them for her own.

Other variations include killing her children to be with a rich man, neglecting her children until they drowned in a river, or having her children die in a house fire set by the priest who performed her wedding ceremony.

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The Mythological and Historical Origins of La Llorona Variations.
Image Source: Library of Congress Blogs

The Mythological and Historical Origins

While the origins of La Llorona are uncertain, historians speculate that the story has Aztec roots. In the 16th century, the Florentine Codex depicted an Aztec goddess called Cioacoatl, described as a weeping woman in white who appears at night, similar to La Llorona.

Others connect La Llorona to La Malinche, Hernan Cortes’ Indigenous interpreter. She was sold into slavery after her father’s death but became Cortes’ personal translator and aided in Mexico’s colonization, making her notorious for her betrayal of Mexico.

Some stories claim that she drowned her son when she learned that Cortes planned to go back to Spain with him. Historians doubt this story’s accuracy due to a lack of evidence of intimacy between Cortes and La Malinche but speculate that she was in an abusive and controlling relationship with him.

The Colonial Version

A colonial version of La Llorona involves a white settler woman in San Antonio, Texas, whose village was attacked by Native Americans. She saved her children from the same fate by drowning them in a river. The woman was subsequently captured and killed, and her spirit is said to continue to mourn her children by Woman Hollering Creek.

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However, this version is considered racist and colonial since it whitewashes the story and portrays Native Americans as savage murderers.

La Llorona Reimagined

Hispanic women writers have been retelling La Llorona’s story in Chicano literature, providing more justifiable reasons that align with women’s struggles. Luz Alma Villanueva reimagines the version from Texas in her novel, Weeping Woman: La Llorona and Other Stories.

Villanueva’s version focuses on rape, incest, and childhood sexual abuse. In her story, La Llorona represents a caring mother mourning the injustice women experience, such as sexual violence.

Villanueva also affirms La Llorona as a Native American tale, emphasizing our Indigeneity as Hispanic-Americans. She argues that decolonizing our minds and reclaiming our power requires embracing our Native American roots.

Regardless of your ethnicity, telling La Llorona’s story through this Native narrative recognizes the colonization and genocide that occurred beyond the United States and the survivors’ thriving resistance.

Conclusion and FAQs

In conclusion, the best version of the La Llorona legend acknowledges its Native American roots and emphasizes the injustice women face, such as sexual violence. Below are some frequently asked questions about La Llorona:

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Q: Is La Llorona real?

A: La Llorona is a legend, but its roots are shrouded in mystery and speculation.

Q: What does the name La Llorona mean?

A: La Llorona translates to “the weeping woman.”

Q: Why is La Llorona a cautionary tale?

A: La Llorona’s tale warns of the danger of revenge and the consequences of one’s actions.

Final Thought

La Llorona’s story is a cautionary tale that has endured throughout generations with regional variations. However, telling it from a Native American perspective that emphasizes women’s struggles and our Hispanic-American Indigeneity is the best version to pass on.



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