La Llorona A five-century-old lamentationSeptember 28, 2015 • By Alfonso Olvera
“They say that a crazy weeping woman appears
in a street near the high school/
That she dances the twist and rock‘ n roll;
that she dances rock‘ n roll and the twist,
and if you look at her you’ll go completely mad…”
Los Gliders, 1961
For over 500 years and even in the age of space travel and global warming, in many parts of Mexico you can still hear the echo of a lamentation. A woman wanders in the middle of the night, through vacant lots, in alleyways with walls of volcanic rock or of quarry stone; weeping over the death of her children.
Dressed in white, with her loose hair; this woman still makes children as well as old-timers tremble with terror, from the lowlands of the Bajío region and even to the southeast of Mexico. She’s “La Llorona”- (The Weeping Woman).
This is the ancient legend that every Mexican child hears either from the mouth of his grandfather or passed on by some school friend that wants to play a joke on him. There’s even a rock’ n roll song that reflects the way that we still get together with this mythical woman.
But the Weeping Woman is much more than a ghost or an apparition. It’s got nothing to do with horrible women with bloody eyes or sharp, pointed teeth. It’s not just a paranormal entity or nor some insane woman who inspired a tale.
La Llorona is a woman both faceless and ageless, a compendium of many symbols and pre-Hispanic deities. She’s both a condemned woman and at the same time, a goddess bearing an ominous message.