Dia de los Muertos is almost upon us. The Day of the Dead is when the Hispanic culture celebrates those who have passed beyond the veil of life into the void of death. Every culture has its ghost stories, and one of the most ingrained is the legend of La Llorona. When one of our Sacramento peeps, Erica Vela said we should create a drink to celebrate the legend of the Weeping Woman, we couldn’t say no to that. After we show you how to make the drink, I’ll tell you a ghost story that has survived for over 500 years and counting.
- 2 oz tequila
- ½ lemon
- ½ lime
- ½ oz blue curacao
- Dash orange bitters
- 6 oz lime Jarritos soda
Muddle the tequila, blue curacao, half lime, half lemon, and orange bitters. Shake with ice and strain into a large glass with ice. Top with Jarritos lime soda. Garnish with lime slice and lemon slice. Serve and enjoy.
The Story of La Llorona
Although there are slight variations to the La Llorona story, the basics of the story remain the same. In a small village, there lived a beautiful young woman named Maria. By far, she was the most prettiest single woman not only in her village, but also for several villages in any direction. Knowing this, Maria set her sights on marrying not just any common young man from her own village, but the most handsome, affluent, charming, wealthy young man. Her expectations were pretty high. As luck would have it, she did meet such a young man. He was the son of a wealthy rancher, handsome and he could play a mean guitar. Maria was smitten and the two courted and were married. Maria’s husband was accustomed to spending a lot of time out on the open ranges. He was a bit of a lone wolf, to be honest.
Eventually, they had a child and then another. Her husband returned to the open range, spending time rustling the cattle, and being angsty. Maria’s family in law were kind of aristocratic; they weren’t really high on the idea of their son being married to a common village girl, no matter how stunning she was. This was always a source of tension between Maria and her husband. She might have been a bit defensive or paranoid about his family not liking her that much. They made no secret of the fact that they wanted their son to marry into to wealth and social status.
The days that Maria’s husband was gone grew longer and longer. Maria was stuck at home with the children, just waiting and waiting for her husband to come home for a few days so she could spend time with him. However, as time went on, when he did return from the range, he focused all of his attention not on Maria, but solely on his children. Maria grew resentful and a bit jealous of her children, and grew increasingly paranoid and unhappy with her husband giving her the brush-off.
One particular day, Maria saw her husband riding into town with a strange woman seated on the carriage beside him. The nerve of that asshole!, thought Maria. She thought, I’ll show him, that cheating pig! She gathered her children and took them to the river and drowned them. She had gone full-on mental. After a while, she came to her sense, and was overcome with grief, as she realized what she had done. She threw herself into the river and drowned herself to follow her children to a watery grave.
Since Maria was a Catholic, she found herself at the Pearly Gates of Heaven, ready to enter. The Gatekeeper, Saint Peter, asked her, Where are your children, Maria? She could not enter heaven; God had seen what she had done. Maria was banished back to Earth, to wander as a spirit in search of young children to kidnap, so that she might enter heaven. Parents tell their children to watch out for La Llorona, as she is said to appear near riverbanks and bodies of water. Perhaps this is a cautionary tale aimed at young children, warning them not to wander far from home. One could also say that this is a warning to young women to not become gold diggers, or not to be too greedy when selecting a spouse. the legend of the Weeping Woman lives on, and probably will as long as humans tell stories.
La Llorona In Popular Culture
It’s incredible how many horror movies there are based on the La Llorona story. I can’t even list them all here; I’d run out of space. A couple are good; most of them are B-movies. There is a traditional song based on the legend of the Weeping Woman, popular for a long time in Latin and South America. This song was popularized by Costa Rican singer Chavela Vargas. I honestly don’t know when this version of the song originally came out, as Vargas just died not that long ago. It’s as sad and lonely as the story is–definitely worth a listen.