Tag Archives: Mexico


Original Text:





It is one of the many legends that are in Mexican culture. The informant states that “many people think that it is a creature more than an animal, but they do not technically know what it is.” In her Mexican culture, it is described to “target more farmer-culture because the creature is said to come in the middle of the night and suck the blood from goats. When the farmers wake up the next day they are described to have seen “puncture wounds on the animals, which they thought was a coyote but the marks don’t match anything.” It has never been seen by the naked eye. They target goats because “they are out in the open, and it can catch them.” It only happens in the “rural areas of [her] family’s farmland” and it even comes from areas in El Salvador and has no evidence such as pictures taken. They have to “put their animals inside before the chupacabras come” because they do not want something to happen. She states that the saying is “take care of your cattle or else you will lose money”


This is “usually said by everyone, specifically farmers who have stories of their cattle and goat being killed and sucked of blood.” It is most relevant in Mexico and other countries in Latin America that have taken over the thoughts of farmers that constantly fear it. People who live in the more rural areas learn about it at younger ages, especially if their parents are farmers that have to be careful and genuinely fear the legend of the chupacabra. They are known to affect the lives of those that are not fortunate. It has become one of the most well-known myths of Latin America. It is said to be the “vampire of Latin America” and even threatens children saying that if they behave badly then they will turn into livestock and the chupacabra will come to get you”


The myth of the chupacabra has become one of the most well-known stories and may have been fabricated to give a reason as to why some disease or other animal may have attacked the livestock and are not able to find what exactly. Chupacabras are presented as horrific creatures that affect the less fortunate, emphasising the trials that they have to go through in order to continue to live as the livestock are seen as some of their main sources of stability. Without the livestock, they are not able to live in a stable environment and therefore use the chupacabra as reasoning as to why their livestock might be suffering. The children are told the story to also stay safe at night and listen to their parents saying this narrative so that they are not a threat to the chupacabra.

La Chupacabra: Legend


Me: “Did you grow up hearing any legends?”

DR: “I know about The Chupacabra. Growing up in my Salvadorian household I remember constantly hearing about The Chupacabra. From what I remember, it’s a creature that almost resembles a dog or like a coyote that was dangerous and would only appear at night. Supposably, they would suck the blood of goats until they died”. 

Me: “Why specifically goats?”

DR: “Not quite sure, but it doesn’t only pertain to goats, I often heard different family members saying that it applied to various types of domestic animals…like on farms. I guess it has to do with the idea that at night farm animals are usually left outside in fenced capacities which makes it easier for The Chupacabra to attack them. Actually if someone was out late, they would be taken away and eaten by The Chupacabra, which is why my parents would always warn me about it and kids I grew up with would always be scared of it”.

Translation: “The goat-sucker”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-DR’s relationship to this piece stems from her Salvadorian and Mexican culture considering this legend is said to affect those of Mexican, Salvadorian, and other Latin American cultures which is why DR grew up constantly hearing about this legend within her mixed household. DR would hear this legend from her immediate Salvadoran father and from her extended Mexican family. She would also hear it from her extended family from El Salvador who have reportedly seen The Chupacabra in their home country. Not to mention, DR would also hear this legend from other students in elementary school. DR interprets this legend as a scary phenomenon that makes children scared of the dark in hopes to keep them safe from the dangers of kidnapping, drug dealing, and gangs that would be evident at night in many Latin American countries. 

Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

– The overall cultural value within this legend stems from the various origin stories that can be told within Latin American cultures and households; specifically in this case, a Salvadorian home and their overall spiritual beliefs. Not to mention, the personal values that can be expressed within this legend is that it allows the individual to inherit fear of this creature and to be extra cautious at night or within how they care for their farm animals which exemplifies their consciousness beliefs. I see this legend as an overall concept of obedience when it comes to a parent’s emphasis on their motive to scare their children from going out at night in order to avoid danger. Considering that I have heard about this legend myself, I interpret La Chupacabra to be a terror embedded concept that is directed towards children in order to maintain their behavior and as a possible excuse that farmers can use as a way to redirect their mistreatment of farm animals who pass away on their watch. One similar legend that has similar qualities to La Chupacabra is the legend of Bigfoot that I grew up hearing. These two legends are similar in the fact that they are both considered legends regarding creatures that stem from conspiracy theories. Not to mention, the only difference between these two legends is that I grew up hearing about Bigfoot from a social process while DR grew up hearing about La Chupacabra as an individual memorate process, given her families reported encounters in their home country.

Family Ghost Friend


The informant is a USC student who has lived their entire life in a neighborhood near the USC main campus. Their family is of Mexican origin, and this story is about a ghost that has haunted their family throughout the generations. We conducted this interview in the basement of Taper Hall during our shared ANTH 333 discussion section, and so this story is what the informant could think of as a story to tell off the top of their head.


Int.: Okay, I’m recording.

LH: Okay, so basically this story, I don’t know who came up with it, but it like ran amongst like my little cousins and I when I was growing up, I used to live very close to USC campus. And I remember one day, my mom would tell me just randomly like, “Oh, your little friend stopped by your blah blah blah.” And I was like, “What do you mean my little friend?”

LH: I was like, 11 when this happened. I was like, “What do you mean, my little friend?” And the story goes basically that like, in my family, we had an uncle who like died tragically in a fire when they were still in Mexico.

[Interviewer laughs in surprise]

LH: I know this escalates very quickly. He died very tragically as like a kid in a fire and blah blah blah, and everyone in my family thinks that my grandma is cursed. Like, we think that she like dead ass has like something on her, like, witchcraft. And so the story is that once like, my uncle died in the fire, he had been like haunting my grandma like ever since and like following her around.

LH: And so every time we would go to like, my grandma’s house, the vibes were so gross. It was so cold in there. It was–it felt like you were being watched all the time. And my mom would say that, like all the little kids in the family at the time, would have like the same constant imaginary friend whose name was Pablo.

LH: And she was like, yeah, like your little cousin saw your–or like Pablo the other day and I’d be like, “Who the fuck is Pablo?” Like, what are you talking about? Until one day my old–My other uncle he was like, “Yeah, you had this uncle who–” blah blah blah, this and that. And basically like, to this day we tell this story to like the little kids because like, my grandma’s house has always felt so, like, grody and like, weird, like, the vibes.

LH: The vibes have always been off and so to this day, every time we get, like, a new little cousin in our family, or like, someone else in the family would be like, “Yes, you know, my grandma’s haunted but she has like this little boy following her. But yeah, that’s like, pretty much the sum of it.

Int.: That’s crazy.

LH: Yeah.


I love this story for how it reveals the family structure of the informant as one that is strong and large. From a folklore studies perspective, it reveals how folklore often spreads through family structures and reinforces cultural beliefs–such as the belief in ghosts–in the process. The ghost in this story arises from a family legend–that of the boy who died in a tragic fire. It also shows how children influence the folk beliefs in adults, not just the other way around. Because the family children all have similar or the same imaginary friend, it reinforces the belief in this ghost and continues this legend. In a way, it keeps the memory of the boy who died alive. The ghost becomes disembodied from the real boy in terms of actual facts, such as what the boy looked like, how he behaved, and more, but the shared idea of him continues to change as the imaginary friend persists throughout the family.

Miracle Fountain

Text: “I don’t have a ton of specifics about what he was suffering from, but there was a kid in my class who had some rare leg-bone condition and he had to have surgery to walk. They thought he was going to die and he had leg casts for two years, and he went to this like font of naturally occurring holy water in Mexico. I don’t exactly know where it was, but he went there and went to mass and had a priest bless him and like fine now. He’s cured.”

Context: S is currently a twenty-year old student at USC. She grew up in Orange County, California and attended private, Catholic school for her education. 

Analysis: Water as a healing source is a common belief in many different cultures. In S myth it seems that the water is providing a contagious magic, and that by having proximity to the water or touching it, her classmate was able to be cured. In Mexico there are a few different fonts or fountains which S could be referring to, one is described in this LA Times Story: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-06-27-mn-838-story.html. Healing fountains are often located near or in connection to the Roman Catholic Church for example the In the 18th century it wasn’t uncommon for doctors to prescribe “going to the sea” as a cure for patients with various ailments. This article by the Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/the-historic-healing-power-of-the-beach/279175/, provides context about how proximity to water alone has been prescribed in many different medical capacities. S myth also relates to the story of the fountain of youth which dates back to the 5th century B.C. and is thought to provide eternal youth to anyone who drinks from it. However, maybe more applicable S’ myth is the healing power of water in the Bible. The Christian ritual of baptism is thought to cleanse “original sin.” Also, the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5:1-14, in which a leper is healed in the Jordan waters.

Christmas Punch


M, 56, is from Mexico; he was born and raised in Tijuana but spent a great part of his youth in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. M has been living in Cabo for over 30 and has owned a clothing store there for just as long. He told me of a Christmas tradition he developed on his own in which he makes punch and hands it out to the people that visit his store.


I’m going to tell you about the punch that I make every year on December 24th, back home in Cabo San Lucas. Since the early 90s, I began the tradition of offering a drink, punch, which is a Mexican beverage. Every Christmas Eve from noon to nightfall, I give every customer that passes by my store a cup of freshly made hot punch. I do this because it is a Mexican tradition to make Christmas punch, but I also got this idea from my aunts in the U.S. that have a tradition of making apple cider and distributing it at winter holiday events. In Mexico, we don’t do apple cider, but we do have punch, which is similar enough. It is also a demonstration of gratitude and a marketing tactic for my customers. This punch is mostly made of tropical fruits, many of them endemic to Mexico. Some of the ingredients I use are guavas, apples, oranges, pears, sugar cane, tamarind, tejocotes, piloncillo, cinnamon, hibiscus, etc. To make this punch I use a 5–8-gallon pot and boil water, then I add all the ingredients and let it simmer for half an hour. Once all the fruit essence is infused, I add piloncillo to my liking to sweeten the punch. Then it is ready to serve. I know many cultures have their version of a hot fruity drink for the winter; America has apple cider and Europe has Vin Chaud or Gluhwein, but in Mexico we have punch, plus, it’s non-alcoholic. I think this tradition is tied up with many other environmental elements such as the decorations, the cheerfulness, the Christmas carols and music, and the smells; all together they make Christmas more like Christmas. I think the Christmas spirit is about generosity which is why it is so special to give things to people who don’t expect them.


This holiday tradition shows how a larger and more common tradition can be adopted and altered so it can be performed differently by various individuals. This tradition, even though it may appear a simple marketing strategy is more than that, it has been 30 years in the making; it is a ritual that remains unchanged for the most part after nearly three decades. This Christmas tradition is a way of sharing and giving back to a community as a token of appreciation; food and drinks are essential ways of engaging with a community, especially during a holiday that emphasizes the importance of generosity. It is folkloric because of its conception and ritualization; it was inspired by different influences and was coined to fit the needs and intentions of a specific person. This tradition is tied with many other elements to create a truly magical time that triggers nearly all the senses to ensure an emotive and compelling festivity such as Christmas.