Informant Information – SI
- Nationality: American
- Age: 20
- Occupation: Student
- Residence: Los Angeles, California
- Date of Performance/Collection: April 20, 2022
- Primary Language: English
The informant grew up in Mexico and learned about this legend on a family trip to Guanajuato. They were first told the story by their father and shared this information with me in an in-person interview.
In this piece of folklore, a legend is set in an alley in Guanajuato, Mexico. In this alley, the space between houses is extremely narrow, with the balconies of houses across the street from one another nearly touching.
According to my informant, a young woman and her parents moved into a house in this alley just after it was built. She had recently become interested in a suitor, but her father didn’t approve. She couldn’t imagine her life without him, so they began secretly dating. After the suitor learned that the house across from her family’s home was empty, he purchased it so that he could sneak into her bedroom and visit her at night.
One night, the woman’s father caught the suitor in his daughter’s bedroom. In a fit of rage, he chased the suitor, who attempted to escape back into his house by jumping from her balcony to his. The father grabbed the suitor’s legs just as he tried to jump, causing him to fall off the balcony and break his neck.
Horrified by her father’s violence and grief-stricken by the loss of her beloved, the young woman refused to ever move away or marry, and she lived in that house until her death as an elderly woman.
Now, the alley is a popular tourist attraction, and couples that kiss under the balconies are said to be blessed by the spirit of the deceased suitor.
This legend contains a tragic description of prohibitive familial expectations that result in a forbidden love affair. However, since it focuses on the gruesome nature of the murder and the father’s horror upon realizing what he has done rather than the reason that the lover was said to be an unfit suitor, this story seems to be more of a warning against prejudice and violence than against pursuing a forbidden suitor.
It’s interesting that both the legend and associated magic ritual celebrate love instead of focusing on the tragedy that occurred. In this version, even the ghost of the deceased lover is a benevolent spirit that blesses couples that kiss in the alley where he was killed.
For another version of this legend, see the version published in a tourist guide of Guanajuato: “Alley of Kiss Guanajuato.” Guanajuato Mexico City Guide, GuanajuatoMexicoCity.com, http://guanajuatomexicocity.com/Guanajuato-guide/Alley-of-Kiss-Guanajuato.html.