Muy Supersticioso: Hispanic Superstitions

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! With Halloween just around the corner, superstitions and scary stories are on many people's minds. I don’t know about you but I love hearing new creepy things around the spooky holiday so, here is a list of stories and beliefs that may keep you up at night!

 

Sorya:

La Llorona

This Urban Legend is definitely one of the most popular. The story varies depending on who you ask but the general idea is always the same. It is about a woman who had kids and decided to drown them in a river. Some say she was possessed, others say she did it because her kids were behaving badly and others say it was because the man she loved didn't like her children. People say if you roam outside at night, hang around rivers or go get water in the middle of the night, you could hear her crying, looking for her children.

 

El Mal De Ojo “The Evil Eye”

If you ever meet a Latino child, you might see a small red bracelet around his or her wrist. This is because there is a superstition in Latin America about an “Evil Eye”. Mal De Ojo is caused when people laugh at someone's baby or look at the baby with Envy. The Evil Eye supposedly causes terrible luck and can cause harm to the baby and its family. If a baby does get Ojo, mothers will get a healer who will perform a very interesting ceremony involving an egg and a glass of water.

 

El Cucuy

El Cucuy is the Latin equivalent to the Boogeyman. He is supposedly a small, hairy creature that looks like a mix of a man, a bat and a barracuda. According to Urban Legends, and Latina moms, El Cucuy waits in the closet or under the bed and kidnaps then eats children who do not behave and listen to the parents.

 

El Sombreron

El Sombreron is another Boogeyman related Myth, but more focused towards Teens. Supposedly, he is a small man who wears all black, with a big black hat and who carries a guitar. He is known for finding teen girls and serenading them with his guitar and braiding their hair. After she falls for the small creature, he feeds her soil. The soil makes her lose her appetite and makes it nearly impossible to sleep which makes her sick and can even lead to death.

 

Teeth Dreams

This one isn’t necessarily scary, but it is weirder. Have you ever had a dream about losing teeth? Well according to most Latina Grandmas, that means there is either a pregnancy or death coming around the corner.

 

Dreams coming true

I am not sure why Latinos focus so much about dreams, but they do. A very popular belief involving dreams is the idea of them being visions and how many of them will come true. So what do you do when you have a horrible, nightmare? According to Superstition, if you tell someone your dream, it will not come true. So, next time El Cucuy or La Llorona haunts your dreams, make sure to tell a friend or who knows what can happen…

 

 

Andrea:

  • Brujas: If you have at least one Hispanic friend then you’ve probably heard about brujas, santeras or witches. They’re women -and men, too- that worship the devil and run around causing havoc for no particular reason. Rumour has it that if you’re not baptized, your chances of being taunted and teased by one are higher. So, just to be safe, make sure you don’t piss someone off who you think is a bruja.

  • The rule of threes: I personally think this might be one of the creepiest ones because it’s based on the theory that bad luck comes in sets of three. Basically, If two bad things happen, wait for it –one more is still on its way.

  • La Tulivieja: Don’t get this confused with La Llorona, since this is a Panamanian legend. The story tales that a young woman left her newborn baby to go to a town party and when she came back, her baby was gone. She went to the river to go look for it -because, all babies hang by the river?- and when God saw her, he decided to punish her, so he deformed her (gave her goat legs, raggedy hair). Now, she roams around rivers looking for her lost baby and crying. She’s essentially the main reason no one hangs around rivers after midnight and why everyone gets baptized.

  • The power of an upside-down broom: My aunt even has a story about this. Many Hispanics believe that if you place an upside-down broom behind the entryway door, you keep unwanted guests -and brujas and demons- out of your home. A little scary, but from what I hear, but very effective.

 

  • A glass of water: So, glasses of water are very powerful in Hispanic culture. The first superstition is that if you keep a full glass of water under your bed, you’ll keep demons, evil spirits and brujas from messing with you -and your soul- in your sleep. The second superstition is the same, except for placement: many believe that if you keep a full glass of water in the fridge or behind the door, that’s how you’ll ward off or absorb evil spirits. Now, the third superstition I believe is also a Panamanian belief, but if you put two knives crossing each other in a full glass of water out in the yard, it’ll keep rain away. My aunt always does this before family gatherings and I gotta say, it’s never rained.

 

  • El sereno: Once again, the dew. Oh, the dew: you’re the reason why my mom forced me to wear a hat outside, even though it was 90 degrees.

  • Babies have to wear red to ward off bad energy: This one doesn’t really apply to just babies but, to be fair, they are more vulnerable. And what are the odds that some red string is gonna protect you? But just in case, wrap some red string around your baby’s neck or wrist, just to be safe!

 

  • If you put your purse or wallet on the floor the devil takes your money: You know, because el Diablo has nothing better to do or anything…

 

  • If you have a nightmare tell someone immediately or it will come true: I actually still do this, partly because I want people’s input but also because I do believe in it. But if you have a good dream, keep your mouth shut or it won’t happen for you.

  • Wearing your clothes inside out: Now this is the best technique to keep evil spirits away -or at least the easiest. Before midnight on New Year’s Eve, make sure you’re wearing your pj’s inside out to attract good luck for the next year and ward off bad luck. Or at least make sure you go to bed wearing your pj’s inside out!

 

Alicia:

  • Don’t put your purse on the floor or else you will lose all your money

 

  • If someone sweeps your feet you will never get married (mostly said to women)
  •  If your palms are itchy your right palm means you will receive money, left means you’ll owe someone money.

 

  •  Mal de ojo or Evil eye - can cause horrible things to happen, so many babies can get super sick, azabache gets rid of mal de ojo.
  •  If your ears are ringing someone is talking about you. Right is good and left is bad

 

  •  Eat 12 grapes at New Year’s and make a wish with each one

 

  •  Wear yellow undies on New Year’s to make sure you have a monetarily healthy year

 

  •  If you do a lap in your neighborhood on New Year’s Eve at midnight, with a suitcase, and say where you want to go, you’ll travel to that place

 

  •  Popo de pajaro - good, it is a blessing, if you get pooped on by a bird then money is coming your way
  •  Dia 13 - For Latinos, it is predominantly known as a day of bad luck, but it is Tuesday the 13th as opposed to Friday the 13th

 

  •  La llorona/El Coco - in the plains of Venezuela, if you hear crying at night it’s the llorona looking for her kids. Do not get up from your bed, or go outside, you must stay very still.

 

  •  Doblar la manga - if you don’t like someone or they won’t leave, fold up the sleeve of your shirt and they leave
  •  Broom behind the door, if you don’t want them to come back put a broom behind the door and those people won’t come back

 

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