Author Archives: Miguel Garcia

Bufeo Colorado

I sat in Leavey Library with my friend. I randomly asked her if she had any folklore she could share with me. At first, she said no. Then suddenly she said:

(My friend will be denoted C, I will be M)

C: “Actually I do! So, I was in the Amazon last summer for two weeks and our tour guide was super into the Amazonian culture and would tell us these crazy stories every day at lunch or dinner.”

M: “Do you remember any?”

C: “I remember one pretty well, but just because I thought it was so creepy. The other ones were pretty wild too but I don’t remember. But anyways, yeah so, in the Amazon they have pink dolphins. One of the pink dolphins the locals call ‘Bufeo Colorado’, what that means I could not tell you. So the story goes that Bufeo Colorado can shape-shift into a super attractive fisherman. Every night, his chirps can be heard at all hours of the night. When girls approach though all they see is the fisherman who tries to seduce the girls. If the girls agree to have sex, they immediately fall pregnant and will give birth to more pink dolphins. The only way to outsmart Bufeo Colorado is to play into his own game. The girl must accept the seduction but before Bufeo Colorado enters her home she must push him out the door. Once he falls, he turns back into a pink dolphin and will run away.”

Collector Analysis:

My friend learned this legend from her tour guide when she visited the Amazon rain forest. Apparently, her tour guide had spent years studying to people and culture of the Amazon.

I have never been introduced to the culture of the Amazon, so I am not very aware of what the culture consist of. However, from this legend alone it is clear to see that the Amazonian people have a distinct connection to nature, which is quite obvious when considering where they reside. Of course many Amazonian legends will have to do with the odd creatures only found in the Amazon rain forest. Additionally, I know that dolphins are intelligent animals and often interact with human, so its fascinating to see how legends form around these interactions. I want to know what occurred for the Amazonian people to put pink dolphins into a negative light. Overall, the Bufeo Colorado sounds similar to many other Salvadorean legends, except instead of being a spirit or demon (which is common in Salvadorean folklore) who is trying to seduce someone it is a magical animal.

Ear Ache Remedy

My aunt was helping me learn to drive. During one of our lessons, I asked her for any natural remedies she may know:

M: “Your grandma also has a remedy for ear aches. When we were growing up, your Tio (Uncle) Armando always had ear aches. According to your grandma, when your ears ached if you put a cotton ball with either, breast milk or perfume, the pain would go away. Shes never done it to me, but your Tio (Uncle) Armando never complained.”

Collector Analysis:

My aunt witnessed my grandma performing the folk remedy many times. As she said, the remedy seemed to work on my uncle extremely well. My question is where my grandma got the breast milk or if there is a specific perfume to use? I wonder which perfume my grandma prefers to use when she does do this? I vaguely remember when I was about nine years old I got a very bad ear ache. My grandma laid me on my side and put a cotton ball with perfume, it worked like a charm. My ear ache disappeared.


Cut Remedy

My aunt was helping me learn to drive. During one of our lessons, I asked her for any natural remedies she may know:

M: “I know of a few, mainly because of your grandma. When we [my aunt and her siblings] were young, sometimes we would get small cuts behind our ears, inbetween our ears and our scalps. Your grandma would wake up and before she brushed her teeth, she would rub her saliva behind our ears which would help the cuts heal. We called this ‘Saliva Agria’ which roughly translates to ‘Sour Saliva’.”

Collector Analysis:

Again, to my aunt this is a genuine remedy for curing cuts. She experienced that cuts and the healing that came with the saliva. I do not know if this practice can be applied to any cuts as she did not specify. However, I feel like she would have mentioned if my grandma did this on other cuts as well. I am going to assume this was just for cuts that formed behind the ear. I do not know if saliva has any healing qualities so I cannot determine the validity of this particular folk belief. Also, my mom did not do this to my sister or me when we were growing up.

The Rain Song

At a family dinner, I asked my mom if she could tell me any folklore. She told me the following:

M: “Que llueva, que llueva

La virgen de la cueva,

los pajaritos cantan,

la luna se levanta,

Que si, que no,

Que caiga un chaparrón.”

which translates to:

“Let it rain, let it rain,

The virgin of the cave,

The little birds sing,

The moon rises,

What if, what not,

Let a shower go down.”

Collector Analysis:

The rain song was a song my mom used to sing when she was a little girl. She sang it with a hint of nostalgia in her voice. I’ve heard her sing this song before. Growing up in Los Angeles, I didn’t experience much rain but whenever it rained a lot my mom was always by the window singing this song. It was her way of calling for more rain. As a little girl, she sang this song with her friends from her neighborhood and school. They would hold hands and spin in a circle, very similar to how young kids sing ‘ring around the rosie’. However now, my mom sings this song in an attempt to call down more rain because it reminds her of El Salvador.

I cannot even imagine my mom singing this as a little girl, but at the same time she is very fond of this song. She has taught it to several of the younger kids in our family. I found it interesting how the song incorporates nature, because El Salvador is very rural, as well as including christian images, like the virgin Mary. Even the songs my mom sang as a child were influenced by Christianity in one way or another.

Japanese Paper Doll

My friend and I got to one of our classes early. While we waited I asked her if she knew any folklore. She happily gave me a legend about the Mid-Autumn Festival. She also gave me two proverbs. The last piece of folklore she gave me was a tradition she would do with her grandmother:

E: “I remember when I was younger my family and I took frequent trips to Japan. My grandma, who lived in Japan, would take me to a river about 20 minutes from where she lived. We would walk the entire way and talk, it was really nice. She would tell me about how in ancient japan, young girls would fold paper dolls called ‘ohinasama’.  The doll would collect all their bad luck as it would flow into the doll. The girls would then place the dolls in the river and let them float away. With the dolls, the bad luck would flow away too, letting the girls grow healthy and strong. Every time I visited my grandma in Japan, she would take me to do this. She stopped when I was about thirteen.”

Collector Analysis:

My friend expressed that this folk belief was essential for her grandmother’s state of mind. She explained to me how her grandmother had been raised in this tradition, so it was essential that my friend also participate in it. If my friend hadn’t, she said that her grandma would have constantly been worrying over whether or not my friend would grow to be strong and healthy. This tradition was a way of her grandma ensuring that my friend remained strong, healthy, and happy. As superstitious as the tradition may be, I enjoy the meaning behind it. This is a way for mothers or grandmothers to have some peace of mind because to them this is a way of making sure their kids will prosper.