7 junio, 2024

The 15 Most Popular Legends of Guatemala (Short)

The Guatemalan legends They narrate stories about supernatural characters that are part of the national tradition of this Central American country. These stories have been preserved for several generations in oral and written form.

Within Guatemalan culture, American and Hispanic customs and beliefs have been mixed. One of the great influences within the legends of Guatemala is represented by Mayan mythology, from which many characters and stories are taken.

In addition to the indigenous contribution, Catholicism is also fundamental in many of the legends of Guatemala.

Normally these stories have a moralizing intention, that is, they try to make those who listen to them become aware of their actions and correct any bad behavior.

On other occasions, Guatemalan legends simply explain natural or supernatural events with characters that can be good or bad. Some of the stories and characters are shared by various Central and South American countries.

The best known Guatemalan legends

the cadejo

This creature is described as having the shape of a dog but with red eyes and goat’s feet.

There are two versions in which the Cadejo can appear: the white one, which is linked to good and protection, and a black one that is evil, and also brings death to those who find it.

The legend of the Cadejo affirms that this beast appears to drunkards who are suffering some pain. The white Cadejo helps the drunk to reach their destination safely or lies next to them to protect them from being robbed or attacked.

On the contrary, the black Cadejo chases them and those drunks whose mouths are licked are branded with the intention of stealing their souls. It is said that he harasses them for nine days and after that the person touched by the Cadejo dies.

La Llorona

Guatemala has its version of the legend of La Llorona, which is common to Latin American countries. According to the story, dona Maria was married to a wealthy man, but after her husband’s death she squandered her family savings.

The legend tells that María drowned her children in a river because she had no financial means to support them. After that she committed suicide out of remorse and her soul was condemned to wander in search of her children.

She appears before people after midnight dressed in white with a veil that prevents her face from being seen. The crybaby usually appears near a place that has a body of water and asks between tears «Where are my children?»

the siguanaba

This is one of the most famous Guatemalan legends and its origin seems to be linked to the K’iche people, a native of this Central American nation. La Siguanaba appears before unfaithful men as a woman with a slender figure with her face covered.

After getting the men’s attention, the Siguanaba lures them to the edge of an abyss and reveals that her face is that of a horse. She then pushes them into the void and thus she is left with the soul of her victims.

The legend affirms that if the man who is attracted by the Siguanaba bites a cross or a medal, he can save his soul from the spectrum.

The big hat

The story of the Sombrerón or Tzitzimite affirms that he is a man of small stature. In some versions they say that he can become as small as a finger, for this reason he has also been identified as a goblin.

He is dressed in black, with a shiny belt and a hat so big that it completely covers his face. This being appears to young girls with black eyes and long hair.

He charms his victims with serenades that he plays on his guitar, but torments them to the point that they cannot eat or sleep. She then braids their hair and steals the young women’s souls.

It is also said that the Sombrerón likes to ride horses and mules, that is why he appears in the stables of Guatemala and there weaves a braid in the tail of the animals that become aggressive and are not good for work.

The Tattooed

The legend of the Tatuana tells that a woman who was an expert in the arts of love was accused of witchcraft because of how inappropriate her behavior was considered at the time.

It was said that she used spells to attract men and that she sold love potions.

For all the charges against her, she was tried by the Holy Inquisition and sentenced to die. While she was imprisoned by her, she went mad and made a pact with the devil to whom she sold her soul.

According to the story, La Tatuana drew a ship on the wall of her cell in which she was able to escape during a rainy night. She in turn was sentenced by the devil to wander on a ship for eternity on every rainy day.

The headless priest’s mass

In Guatemalan folklore there is a legend about a friar or priest who seems to float above the ground. It is said that when a person fixes his gaze on that priest, he can notice that he is transparent and has no head on his neck.

Those who saw him felt great discomfort after the priest disappeared, they had nausea, dizziness and chills.

In other versions they narrate that the spectrum kept a treasure buried under the altar of a church that collapsed during an earthquake and distributed it among the poor.

It has also been said that his head is wrapped in bloody leaves that he collects in the forest. Other countries share this legend with some variations, such as that the priest was condemned by his greed to wander forever in search of his head.

the xocomil

Before Lake Atitlán existed, this was the point where the mighty rivers known as the Three Giants met. This was the place where Citlatzin, the daughter of a local cacique, bathed every morning.

One day Citlatzin met Tzimiztli, a young commoner, and they both fell in love. The relationship between them was impossible because they belonged to different classes and the girl was promised to another young man.

The Three Giants were in love with Citlatzin and when they found out that she was interested in Tzimiztli they decided to drown him.

The current of the rivers dragged Tzimiztli into the depths and when Citlatzin saw her lover about to die, she followed him, for which she also drowned.

The fury of the rivers grew when they realized that Citlatzin had also died and its currents created what is now Lake Atitlán.

The carriage of death

Legend has it that a horse-drawn carriage appears through the streets of Guatemala at night and stops in front of a house. In the home in front of which the spectral carriage stops, a person will die.

The story says that the coachman is dressed completely in black, the horses that carry the carriage are also completely black.

After the person selected by the death carriage has passed away, this vehicle returns to the house to take their soul.

The man from beyond

This Guatemalan legend is about the ambition of a young woman and how her desire to obtain wealth condemned her to live in ruin. The girl lived with her mother, who worked various jobs to support her beautiful daughter.

One night the girl saw a light in the shadow of a tree and remembered that rumors said that the appearance of lights was a sign that there was money buried somewhere.

When he got closer, the ghost of a man appeared to him who gave him a jar of money with three conditions:

First of all, he had to organize masses for him so that the faithful would pray for his soul and allow his spirit to rest in peace. Then her remaining money was to be divided between herself and the poor, but she could only take it until Christmas Eve.

She ignored the words of the ghost of the man from beyond and tried to take the money a day before, but only found pieces of coal in the form of coins. The next day she returned to the spot where she found the spirit and dug until she found an identical vase also filled with coal.

Once again the man from the afterlife appeared to her and told her that thanks to her greed he would not be able to enter heaven and she would remain poor for the rest of her life.

The Amate tree

Legend says that in the current Plaza del Amate, where a tree of the same name used to be, a strange figure appeared that granted favors to those who went there.

That spectrum was the devil himself, who in exchange for his help took the souls of the people who contacted him.

the lord of the hill

Guatemalan traditions dictate that hunters must ask the lord of the hill for permission before killing any animal. This is due to the legend that states that each mountain has its lord who takes care of the animals and plants in each one of them.

If a person enters a mountain and takes without permission an animal that belongs to the respective lord, he will send the rest of his animals to take revenge or cause disease to those who disturbed the peace of the hill.

The Goldfinch

Legend has it that in times prior to the arrival of the Spanish, a tribe settled in the area of ​​present-day Guatemala. Among the warriors was a ruthless one named Batsu, who decided to marry a local girl named Jilgue.

The girl was very fond of walking through the woods and singing. She was not happy when she learned that her destiny would be to marry Batsu, so she fled to the forest and remained hidden there for a while, away from her cruel fiancé.

After searching for Jilgue for a while, Batsu ordered the forest to be set on fire so that she would be forced to leave.

She did not, and died as a result of the flames, but her spirit is said to have transformed into a bird with a brown and white body, black wings, and a red face.

Cabracán and volcanoes

Cabracán was a giant that came from the wind and his legend says that he sold piles of earth as big as mountains in exchange for food. Then his clients began to ask him for volcanoes, which he transferred without any problem.

One day he was beginning to transport the Belejuj and three young women (the guardians of the corn) appeared in front of Cabracán. Cabracán fell in love and promised to work hard to make them all happy if they married him.

The goddesses told him that they would accept his offer if he gave them food he had taken from the river. The three of them tricked Cabracán and chained him to a stone in the river. Since then, every time Cabracán tries to free himself, there are tremors.

the siguamonta

Legend has it that the disobedient children who played in the streets of Guatemala until late at night would appear a beautiful golden bird called Siguamonta.

This bird took them with its claws and took them to a precipice from which it pushed them for not paying attention to their parents.

the witch monkey

According to Guatemalan folklore, some witches had the ability to transform into beings similar to large monkeys thanks to magical rituals.

When they took their animal form they went in search of men who had abandoned their partners to harm them.

Men were advised to wear underwear inside out so that witch monkeys could not touch it. They could also be victims of the fury of those beings…

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