The Origins Of La Llorona: The Weeping Woman

By | October 26, 2019

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A ghostly woman in a white gown stands near a lake. Source: (

A dark-haired woman in a long white gown haunts rivers and lakes, searching for her drowned children. No one, especially children, dare go near her for fear she will drag them into the water and drown them. Her name is La Llorona and she is a well-known figure in Mexican folklore.

While the exact origin of the legend is unknown, many believe it dates back more than four centuries. The figure of La Llorona is thought to be one of the goddesses worshipped by the Aztecs. The goddess Cihuacōātl, which means “Snake Woman,” was said to dress in white and walk around at night crying. She was also considered to be an evil omen. La Llorona has also been connected to the Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, meaning “the Jade-skirted one,” who was the goddess of the waters and had a reputation for drowning people. The Aztecs gained favor with Chalchiuhtlicue by sacrificing children to her.  

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Depiction of Chalchiuhtlicue. Source: (

The La Llorona myth has also been connected to a real woman named La Malinche, who was the mistress of Hernán Cortés during his conquest of Mexico. According to legend, La Malinche was reviled by her people due to her connection to Cortés, who left her after she gave birth to his child. She responded to his desertion by murdering their child. While there is historical evidence that La Malinche did exist, there is no proof that she killed her children.