Residence: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/09/2017
Primary Language: Spanish
Main piece: You know why the coyote howls to the moon? He was chasing a rabbit and it jumped so high that it landed on the moon. That’s why we see a rabbit in the moon. Now, the coyote doesn’t want to eat the rabbit. He has fallen deeply in love with him and the moon after chasing them for so long. He sings his love every night. That’s why we hear them howl to the moon.
Background information about the piece by the informant: Emanuel lived in Lima, Peru for a year in a study abroad program. He learned this story from a street merchant woman when she sold him a wooden figurine of a wolf, which he tends to wear around his neck because it reminds him of what he considers to be “a beautiful love story”.
Context on the piece: It’s not clear from what Peruvian belief this story comes from. It might have its origins in Incan mythology, or it could have been brought by Spanish settlers. Perhaps it’s a combination of both, but seems to be a very specific myth for the locals of Lima.
Thoughts on the piece: The moon is seen as a feminine symbol of love across many cultures, and this myth is no exception. It manages to blend it with an explanation to why the moon has the silhouette of what appears to be a rabbit. This makes sense, as for a long time no one knew what the moon really was, but it was undeniable radiant and beautiful. So, having the howls f the coyote in a story like this might make their presence a more romantic one than a threatening one. It’s also interesting to see the coyote play a humbler role in this culture, as he is usually shown as the trickster or the con artists by other societies. It shows that this Peruvian folk may have a more humbling sensibility to beauty.