La Llorona
Marta Cecilia Olivares, dressed up as 'Catrina' (Mexican representation of death), poses by graves in the San Francisco Cemetery in Mexico City on November 1, 2018. The legend of La Llorona is common to all Latin American countries, including Mexico. OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images

Fans of the horror movie genre have something to look forward to this year — James Wan’s upcoming film “The Curse Of La Llorona,” which will air in April. The movie is inspired by the legend of a wailing woman in white ghost, which is a common belief in Latin American countries.

However, digging deeper into the origins of the superstition reveals that the belief itself is way older and may have come from the Aztecs. For those planning to watch the upcoming film, here’s a brief discussion on who La Llorona is. A warning, though, there might be mild spoilers ahead.

What La Llorona Looks Like

The name La Llorona is loosely translated to “The Weeping Woman” in English, according to PopSugar, which is a reference to the ghost’s eerie cries as she looks for her children. The common description of the entity is that she has long hair and is wearing a white dress. Unfortunately, she also brings misfortune to those who come near her.

How She Became A Lost Soul

There are many different stories on how La Llorona came to be. In one Mexican account, she used to be the wife of a rich nobleman. However, the husband’s affection toward his wife waned after some time until it reached a point where he started ignoring her, only talking to their children. One day, the man returned home bringing back with him a wealthy mistress.

In a fit of mindless rage, the wife drowned their children in a river. But when she returned to her senses and realized what she had done, she was overwhelmed with grief and decided to drown herself as well.

There is also a Guatemalan version that states that someone kidnapped La Llorona’s child. Distraught, she searches for her missing child at night and would even barge into other houses.

A Legend Older Than The Arrival Of The Spanish People

According to History Today, the La Llonora legend is very old and even predates the Spanish conquest of Latin America. Based on Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun’s Florentine Codex, she could be Cuiacoatl or Snakewoman, an Aztec goddess. Described as an omen of war, the goddess is often heard wailing at night “crying about the fate of her children.”

Another possibility is that La Llonora could be the modern-day version of Coatlicue, the mother of the Aztec god of war Huitzilopochtli based on Dominican friar Diego Durán’ codex. The goddess is described as “the ugliest and dirtiest that one could possibly imagine.” She weeps and mourns for her son while waiting for his return from war.

“The Curse Of La Llonora”

It won’t be the first time that La Llonora is introduced to American viewers when the movie hits the big screen this year. The topic has already been explored in NBC’s “Grimm,” as well as in The CW’s “Supernatural.”

“The Curse Of La Llorona” will be released on April 19. Latina actress Marisol Ramirez will play the role La Llorona, while Linda Cardellini will portray the role of Anna Garcia, a social worker who will begin to notice supernatural forces at work. The film’s story will be set in '70s Los Angeles.

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