Date of Discovery
The first publication that came out about La Llorona was in 1883 when Manuel Carpio wrote about her tale in the form of a sonnet.
La Llorona is Spanish for “the Weeping Woman,” which she is also commonly referred to–along with this, she is also called the Wailing Woman, the Cryer, as well as La Malinche.
She bears a likeness to the White Lady, although she is not directly associated with that legend.
In her oldest origins, she has been linked to a pre-Conquest Aztec goddess–Ciuacoatl, or snake-woman, who appeared in white, but other versions describe her as, “the ugliest and dirtiest that one could possibly imagine. Her face was so black and covered with filth that she looked like something straight out of Hell.”
The modern version of La Llorona is that she is the spirit of a Mexican woman who appears to be wearing a white dress.
Folklore about La Llorona is common knowledge in Mexico, where the claim is that she wanders the banks of rivers crying for her lost children.
Weeping women wearing white is an international phenomenon–the details of the lives of these weeping women, or White Ladies are unique for every different culture or individual haunting, it is safe to say that they are related.
Mythology and Lore
The poem that was written by Manuel Carpio was the first written account of this wailing spirit.
Sonnet – Manuel Carpio (1883)
Pálido de terror contar oía
cuando era niño yo, niño inocente,
que dio la muerte un hombre delincuente
en mi pueblo a su esposa Rosalía.
desde entonces en la noche umbría
oye temblando la asustada gente
tristes quejidos de mujer doliente,
quejidos como daba en su agonía.
Por algún rato su lamento cesa;
mas luego se desata en largo llanto,
y sola por las calles atraviesa.
A todos llena de mortal espanto,
y junto al río en la tiniebla espesa
se va llorando, envuelta en su manto.
Sonnet – by Manuel Carpio (1883)
Pale of terror count heard
When I was a child, an innocent child,
That gave death a criminal man
In my village to his wife Rosalia.
And since then in the night Umbria
Hey shaking the scared people
Sad whining of a grieving woman,
Whining as she gave in her agony.
For some time her regret ends;
More then she unleashes in long cry,
And alone in the streets go through.
To all full of deadly horror,
And by the river in the thick darkness
He goes crying, wrapped in her mantle.
The oral legend usually tells of a young woman named Maria, living in a rural Mexican village. She marries into a wealthy family after she’s swept off her feet by a nobleman; after a few years of marriage, Maria and her husband have two children, but her husband was rarely home preferring to travel on his own. When he did come home, he ignored his wife, only spending time with their two boys and eventually, Maria realized that her husband no longer loved her.
After living in a neglectful and lonely marriage for so long, Maria was horrified when her husband returned with a new, younger bride to tell Maria that he was leaving her for good. In the depths of her despair, she took their sons down to the river and drowned them. When horror finally found her in remorse, she tried in vain to recover their bodies so she took her own life. Her body was found several days later on the riverbank, but the bodies of her sons were never recovered.
To this day, she wanders the world of the living, haunting rivers and lakes, doomed to search for her dead children forever. Be wary, if you hear her near to you, she is far away, attempting to lure you in, but the closer you get to La Llorona, the farther away she will sound. If you hear her crying out, “ay, mis hijos!” it’s best to just run in the opposite direction–to this day, when a child goes missing by a river in Mexico, you can be sure that the name La Llorona will be uttered.
Modern Pop-Culture References
Books & Literature
- La Llorona (1960)
- The Curse of the Crying Woman/La Maldicion de La Llorona (1963)
- The Wailer (2006)
- J-ok’el (2007)
- The Cry (2007)
- Her Cry: La Llorona Investigation (2013)
- Mama (2013)
- The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
- La Llorona (2019)
- Grimm (2011 – 2017)
Is there anything we missed about La Llorona? Let us know in the comments section below!
Author. Artist. A little bit Alaskan. Mary lives with her dog in a rural cabin outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They explore the bounty of the Alaskan wilderness during the summer and cozy up in their log cabin during the winter.