Tag Archives: lent


My informant moved around quite a bit when he was younger; he spent a couple years in Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi. In his adolescence, his family moved to Louisiana. Because that is where he went to high school and is therefore the last place he lived before coming to college, it is the place he considers his home. He is proud of being “from” the area near New Orleans. Here is his description of a legend he picked up while living in Louisiana:

“The Rougarou is a legendary creature in Cajun folklore similar to a werewolf. It is said to have the head of a wolf with the body of a human. Supposedly it spends its time prowling the swamps of Acadiana and the greater New Orleans area. The legend of the Rougarou has often been used a scare tactic to inspire obedience amongst Cajun children. It’s a pretty scary monster. Variations of the legend hold that the Rougarou will hunt down and kill Catholics who do not follow the rules of Lent. As a child, my parents told me the about the Rougarou to keep me from wandering far into swampy areas, which can be very dangerous.”

My informant’s retelling of the basics of the Rougarou legend is an explanation of one way his parents tried to scare him into being safe. This kind of strategy must be quite common in parenting, for I know my parents told me stories to prevent me from doing risky things. I remember other friends of mine saying similar things. One widespread example is when fathers or mothers tell their children that if they make a silly face for too long, their face might get stuck like that forever. The difference is that the Rougarou is more deeply rooted in Louisianan traditions. My informant says that anyone who has lived in the greater New Orleans area for enough time should be familiar with this legend. Another difference is the religious aspect; my informant says that sometimes the story is told to warn people about breaking the rules of Lent. It is interesting how one story can take on different meanings with only slight variations in content and context; this story went from a Catholic cautionary tale to a disciplinary method meant for keeping kids away from the deep swamp.

Recipe – Mexico


This is a food made only during lent and is eaten on every Friday during this time, including Good Friday. It was a part of seven dishes made. Veronica does not know what the other dishes were, but believes they must have not been so good since they are no longer made. This specific dish was made because it does not have meat, which Catholics are not allowed to eat on Fridays of lent.

The recipe: (serves six people)

4 bolillos(like French bread) in pieces

1 piloncillo(unrefined brown sugar cone)

1 slice of cinnamon

Pepper (unrefined)

1 clove

1 laurel leaf

3 tomatillos

A piece of onion

Colored pills (chochitos de colores)

Shredded cheese


Shredded coco


Vegetable Oil

Fry the bolillos in the oil and put them aside so that they do not become hard. In a liter of water add the piloncillo, cinnamon, clove, pepper, laurel leaf, and the 3 tomatillos. Let this come to a boil then turn it off. In a separate pot, add the butter and the bolillos along with the walnuts, peanuts, colored pills, coco, and cheese. Then add only the water from the previous mixture. Let the mix heat on a low fire until everything has been incorporated well and the cheese has melted a bit.

Veronica makes this every lent, and enjoys eating it. She learned the recipe from her mother, who learned it from hers. I have tried this and did not like it, partly because I do not like soggy bread and because the ingredients all have a very defining taste. The recipe itself seems unclear and hard to follow, reason that leads me to believe that it can only be learned if it is taught to you by someone.