(NOTE: This post was written when I was 13. I edited it in 2017 for grammatical errors and other technical stuff, but maintained the content to preserve my 13-year-old perspective)
The woman from the legend of La Llorona was once known as Maria. The story goes that she married a man of a higher class than her, and bore him 2 children. After a while, her husband left, and only came back home to visit his kids, and not to visit Maria. One day, the husband came back to the village to visit his kids with another woman of his class. Maria turned all her anger on her children, and threw them into a river. After realizing what she had done, she tried to get her children back, but they were already gone. The next morning, a traveler discovered her dead body by the river.
After her death, she was denied entrance to the gates of heaven because she didn’t know the whereabouts of her children. So now she wanders the earth trying to find her children. The legends say that La Llorona will carry off wandering children, or children who disobey their parents, who look like her own kids. People also say that those who hear La Llorona’s cry are doomed to die, much like the banshee in Ireland.
La Llorona has been compared to numerous different mythical figures with similar stories.
In the Mexican story of La Malinche, an indigenous Nahua woman by the same name was a interpreter for the Spanish conquistadors. She became Cortes’ wife eventually, and gave birth to a son. Although there are many versions to this story, along with the legend of La Llorona, one account tells that Cortes left her for a wealthier Spanish woman. Now, the difference is that (as far as we know…) she didn’t kill her kid. But La Llorona is quite frequently compared to the story of La Malinche.
Another story that resembles La Llorona is a Greek myth. The story goes that the sorceress Medea married the Argonaut Jason, and gave birth to two children. She also, like La Llorona, killed her two kids when her husband left her for another woman.
La Llorona is said to be seen as a long-haired woman wandering along the banks of bodies of water wearing a flowing white dress. Many people have said that she will wail words like, “Where are my children?”. Kids are warned by their parents not to go out after dark, specifically if their home is close to a body of water, because they might get snatched up by La Llorona.
Although the legend of La Llorona originated close to Mexico City, it’s a story that is spread throughout Latin America, South America, and the Southern United States.
N.A. (n.d) La Llorona – A Hispanic Legend. Retrieved 11/26/2013 from: http://www.literacynet.org/lp/hperspectives/llorona.html
Wikipedia (2013) La Llorona. Retrieved 11/26/2013 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Llorona
N.A. (2007) Lloronas in Other Cultures. Retrieved 12/3/2013 from: http://www.lallorona.com/1cultures.html