“El Cipitio is the son of La Siguanaba, he was cursed to stay little forever. He likes to stalk young girls who are virgins. He approached these young girls while they lay sleeping. He would whisper things into their ears and would touch them. After visiting these girls, the girls would go crazy. They stayed crazy forever.”
The informant is a middle-aged woman, born in El Salvador. She learned this story from her mother. She believes her mother told her this story in order to cause her fear of not wandering at night or sleeping in the nude.
For another version, see Cordova, Carlos (2005). The Salvadoran American. Westport: Greenwood Press.
“It is a wagon that goes through the many towns during midnight. The spirits on the wagon would take all those it crossed. It is said that they would take them to hell. At midnight, you could hear the sound of the wooden wheel very loudly marking the wagon’s passage through the town. The wagon was conducted by spirits from hell in order to take humans to hell. My sister and I heard the wagon passing some nights. Maybe it was our imagination or fear, but we really thought we heard it passing. Some even say they saw it.”
Context: The informant is a middle-aged woman, born in El Salvador. Her mother told her this story, and she believes now that like many of the other stories her family told her, they were in order to prevent them from wandering the streets at night.
I agree with the informant that the function of these stories is to prevent the young from wandering at night in order to avoid the many dangers that could occur at that hour.
Context/Background: The informant is Salvadoran and Mexican-American who grew up in a household surrounded by folk belief and customs. One in particular regarded magic in her grandmother’s hometown. In this circumstance, the informant’s grandmother has told her the stories of a local wizard and different legends about who he possibly is and is able to become.
[Face to Face]
“My Grandma- she talks about a lot of things- but like, she talks about this man from her pueblo- the area she was born, who was kinda like a wizard, you can kinda say. And apparently, he would like, help heal people. Like one time, he told her to put like a cross under um, I think my dad who was like… drunk and gonna die on his back under the hammock and he would get better. This was an experience she had… and it was a story that he- this wizard- was like, she actually knows as a person, um, turns into a dog and scares people.”
KA: And where was she from:
“El Salvador, and it’s um… San Marcos specifically”
Introduced: The informant was introduced to this story through her Grandmother.
Analysis/Interpretation: I think this is an interesting dynamic because this story refers to someone who is real, but there is a legendary element to him which is questioned amongst local people expanding into a greater mystery when examining contrasting alter-ego types. I think it would be interesting to find out more both regarding how the wizard has interacted with others and what exactly his dog form symbolizes and what is done at that state.
This legend was collected from a friend, who was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador and is 21 years old. It is about el cadejo, a character of the folklore of Central America and some parts of Mexico.
She told me the story is about two dogs, one white and one black. Indigenous people believed that dogs help humans to get to heaven after they die. El cadejo is therefore actually a spirit that presents itself in the form of a dog. It is believed that God created a good spirit in order to protect humankind, the white dog, but the devil created a black one that would fight the white one and defeat God. It is said that the black one tends to be seen by people who wonder the streets at night, engage in immoral behaviors, or have an unclean conscience. It chases its victims to scare them and the hypnotizes them with its read eyes and steals their souls. The white one, in contrast, is believed to protect God’s “loyal believers.” She says that her grandfather told her that story, and that he actually believed it, but she never really believed in legends. She also told me that legends were a big part of Salvadoran culture and were taught in school, and on El Salvador’s independence day, there are nation-wide parades and people dress up as the dogs or other characters from legends to commemorate them.
I find it interesting that this legend has positive and negative aspects, in contrast to other Latin American legends that tend to be mostly negative. It also incorporates themes of religion and morality, symbolizing El Salvador’s strong religiosity.
This custom was collected from a friend, who was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador and is 21 years old.
She told me that every Sunday night, it is a tradition for all families across the country regardless of their social status to sit together and eat pupusas, a thick stuffed corn tortilla from El Salvador. She told me that her own family doesn’t really follow this tradition often, since her parents did not grow up in El Salvador, but that every time it does happen it is great quality time and she enjoys it very much.
I think this is a very beautiful tradition that speaks to Latin Americans’ importance on family time. It reminds me of the weekly lunches that my parents made me and my siblings go to every Sunday as an excuse to spend more time together.