USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘El Cucuy’
Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative

El Cucuy/Chupacabra

The informant, K, is 19 years old. She was born in Long Beach, California but was raised in Los Angeles. Her dad is from Guadalajara, Mexico (Southern Mexico) but moved to the United States when he was 2. Her mom was born in Obregon, Sonora (Northern Mexico) but grew in Mexicali (a US-Mexico border town), and she moved to the United States when she was 18. She is majoring in Applied Mathematics with a Computer Science Minor. She considers herself Mexican-American (or Chicana).

K-“For me growing up the Chupacabra (goat sucker) and the cucuy (bogeyman) were the same. Thing I know for other cultures I’ve heard that they were different. I forgot how they were different but for me growing up they were the same thing. Basically our parents used to tell us ‘oh if you don’t go to sleep on time, or you don’t listen, or disrespect me the cucuy/chupacabra is going to get you. It was mostly if you didn’t go to sleep because it was told the chupacabra ate the children who stayed past their bedtime.”

What age were you when you heard this?

K-“I think they started telling me when I was about 5”

According to the story, where did they used to live?

K-“Anywhere. That’s why it was used by the parents, because they could come from anywhere. But mainly I heard that they can come from like a cave in the mountain but even if we lived nowhere near a mountain they would still come and get us”

Analysis- Normally in the Hispanic culture, the chupacabra and the cucuy would be different. Only the cucuy would be the one that would take the children if they did not behave or at random moments when it came out from under the bed. The chupacabra was not really a worry to children but instead to cattle. This version of the story, however, was adapted to scare children even more by creating this new monster than consists of two already scary creatures. The fact that the monster can still come and get the children, even if they do not live near anywhere near where the monster lived, shows that the story was specifically aimed at children.el cucuy

Folk Beliefs
Legends

EL Cucuy

Legend

 

Nationality- Mexico

Primary Language- Spanish

Occupation- Construction Worker

Residence- Los Angeles, CA

Date of Performance- 3/17/16

El cucuy

There is an old legend that came from Mexico. My mother would always tell me to behave or else the cucuy would get me. Cucuy was a small, bat eared, furry, hairy creature with red eyes that would kidnap you if you misbehaved or did something you weren’t supposed to. My mother said I have to always go to sleep at night on time, never do anything bad to someone else, and most importantly, listen and never disrespect her. If I did, the cucuy would come and get me. I have heard stories from my friends that say that when it’s night and they are out playing when their parents are asleep, they can hear something screeching and red eyes near the bushes. Every time that would happen, someone would go missing the next day. My mother would tell me stories and to this day, if i go to Mexico, I am still scared.

This  piece of folklore from Francisco was about the Cucuy. He learned it from his mother who would tell him anytime she believed there was a motive to disbehave. There are hundreds of legends in Zacatecas but this one was very popular and widely used. Almost every child in Mexico knows it because they are all afraid of it. To Francisco, this legend means a lot to him because it represents where he came from and what he shall pass on to his kids.

Francisco made the story of the cucuy sound ominous. He told it in a way that made the constant disappearing of children answered by the cucuy. The story is typically told in a dark night before kids go to sleep or wander off at night.

El cucuy is another legend from Mexico that has long been known by the Mexican people and a lot of latin americans. It has traveled to the United States and spread at a tremendous rate. The boogeyman is the american version of el cucuy since they both have the same roles, scare kids into staying in their beds and not doing any evil deeds. El cucuy is actually often seen as a variant version of “el coco” that originated from Portugal that had a similar role but had a pumpkin head. Except now, countless Mexican parents use it to instill good behavior on their children despite how cruel it may sound. There have even been books in the United States about el cucuy, its impact on children, society, and culture is amazing. No one has given or copyrighted a face for el cucuy but millions of people seem to believe in it.

 

IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0357507/

-Boogeyman movie that can be seen as a similar iteration of el cucuy.

 

Childhood
general
Legends
Magic
Tales /märchen

El Cucuy

El Cucuy

            “El Cucuy takes bad kids with him. Mami says that if I say bad words or if I scream at jenny or if I’m bad in school, el cucuy is gonna take me with him. So I have to be a good kid… my mom told me this story when I was hitting jenny but she only tells me, el cucuy needs to take jenny too.”

My informant is a 6 year old little boy who is in the second grade. He has a younger sister which whom he’s always getting in trouble with. He lives with his mom and dad who do not tolerate any disrespect coming from him.

While looking at this story from an analytic angle, I have found that this story of “el Cucuy” is used to put fear into little kids so that they stay lenient and listen to their parents. El Cucuy is a Spanish word for the devil, so little kids are told that if they don’t behave, the devil will come for them and take them away. In some instances, the mom has the number of this individual and can personally call this evil identity to take the child away if he is behaving badly. This works to some extent because at a young age, little kids are pretty afraid if their parents are telling them they should be afraid, however, as the child matures/grows up, this no longer is an issue so this form of punishment is not that effective in the long run. Ultimately, little kids are the ones affected by this identity and it is set in place as a form to maintain obedience but my informant telling me that his own mother told him this is kind of alarming to me because I feel like this little boy is being psychologically tortured in order for his mother to receive obedience from him. However, this is a common thing that has been used among others in before years so I guess others have turned okay so I figure this psychological torture is not that bad.

general

“El cucuy”

Okay…so my family isn’t really into traditions and that shit and what not, but growing up they always told the kids including myself about how “el cucuy” would come and take us if we misbehaved. It was a way of parenting I suppose and any who, I feel that’s a part of any Hispanic culture and not just something within my family. It shaped me because in a weird way it helped you consider the consequences of what could happen to you if you did something you weren’t supped to do and it also taught you obedience which I feel is important.

This is very similar to the Vietnamese story about the monster and in this way they want to make sure that they start inculcating this sense of respect on the children from they start understanding what rules are. So creating these scary being will make them want to be obedient and good in order to ensure that they are always safe and nothing bad ever happens to them or anyone in their family or such even as they grow up.

Legends
Narrative

El Cucuy

This JEP informant told an urban legend about a nighttime monster named El Cucuy. According to the informant, El Cucuy walks around everywhere after the sun sets. The monster’s distinguishing physical feature is his one big ear that can hear every sound. It does not matter if the sound comes from nearby or far away. The creature can even hear people who stay silent.

The informant learned about El Cucuy from his teacher in second grade. This legend was also reinforced by his mother who told him not to go out at night because El Cucuy lurked outside. The informant is unsure if he believes in the urban legend of the monster.

This legend seems to have been transformed into a means that the storyteller uses to achieve an end: the informant’s mother used it to scare her young son so that he would not leave the house at night. Perhaps worried parents have encouraged the spreading of this urban legend. This legend is probably aimed at younger children who are more gullible and become scared into obeying more easily. The informant, who is almost a teenager, seems skeptical of this mysterious monster that possesses magical hearing capabilities.

This legend is annotated. It can also be found at the following source: http://tucsoncitizen.com/paranormal/2010/06/27/the-frightening-folklore-of-el-cucuy/

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