Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Legends of "el Cipitillo" and "la Siguanaba"

Legends and myths are an important part of El Salvador’s culture and tradition. Grandparents or older relatives usually tell them to young children (or, as we call them, “cipotes”) and they often have a didactic or moral purpose. I remember my aunt loved to tell my cousins and me these legends to scare us and get us to behave when we were at her house. Among the most famous ones, and also the ones I liked the most, are “el Cipitillo” and “la Siguanaba”.

Folklore recounts that Sihuehuet, which means beautiful woman, was having an affair with the son of the Nawat god, Tlaloc. She had a child called Cipitillo, but when Tlaloc found out, both mother and son were punished. She would be called Siguanaba, which meant ugly woman. According to the myth, she appears to be beautiful at first but she turns into a horrible creature after attracting males who travel at night alone near rivers where she washed clothes or bathed. People who swear they have seen her say she has black hair infested with lice, dark wrinkled skin, and long dirty nails. Her victims, who are usually single or unfaithful, came out with fevers, lice in their hair, and scratches all over their backs and arms. It is said that the only way to prevent her attack is to bite a cross or religious medallion, or pull her hair.

Siguanaba’s son, Cipitillo, was neglected and malnurished by his mother, who left him alone most of the time. He is condemned to live forever as a young boy with his feet in a backward position. Cipitillo is portrayed as having a big belly. He has the ability to teletransport. He wears a large pointy hat (like the one I’m modeling in the picture) and likes to eat ashes and bananas. Although according to legend he is not harmful, he likes to bother people (especially pretty ladies) by laughing boisterously, by throwing things, or by whistling.

So whether you believe these legends or not, if you visit El Salavador, stay away from rivers at night. You never know what you could find!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great legend by the way. I'm Robert Mancia. I am currently researching all I can about El Salvador because I am planning a trip once Im done with college. I want to see the country my parents were born and to learn more about my heratige. I dont know many of my relatives. My hunt will be hard but I know ill get some were.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh man, my family would always scare me with stories about la siguanaba and el cipitillo. whenever i go to el salvador, i'm scared to sleep alone because of the them lol. it doesnt help that it seems so much darker at night in el salvador then it is in the states!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 37yrs old and i remember hearing stories from my grandmother about La Ciguanaba, She is now 86 so she grew up when the country was not as populated or a bright(candels). She said one night while playing outside with her brother she looked up and saw the maid up on a tree with one leg on end and the other on the other end. She and her brother ran inside and the maid was standing there, doing the dishes!!! She swears by it. My Uncle also told me a story of another incident where he was sleeping alone in our Farm (finca) and he took a long walk at night(11pm or so) and all of a suden he saw a very short man walking next to him (with bright red eyes)he wouldn't talk but the more they walked the more he grew, until he disapeared!!! that's just a couple of so many stories, i was told growing up. But my scariest one actually happened to me here in L.A. when? at 12:00am i could see the clock, i got a feeling through my body that i was going to be lifted off the bed (i was awake) and first instict was to avoid being lifted, so i resisted. As i resisted both my legs were lifted but not my shoulders. I could see a green light going out the window and a shadow leaving, when my legs dropped and bounced off the bed!! Wow!! It was very real!!!

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my mom grew up in unpopulated areas in a finca and my grandmother used to send her to do laundry since she was the oldest. One day it was almost sunset and she was rushing and when she looked up she saw la siguanaba, and she never tells us anything else she still gets freaked out even talking about it...

3:48 PM  
Blogger geraldine said...

My parents are from san vicente and they say that they saw them both, my mom would go to the river and wash and she said that she saw the siguanaba, at first she did not know who she was but then something told her and she closed her eyes and some how staring walking backwords until she bump into my uncle then they both ran. my dad had similar experience.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My uncle use to tell me that His friend went with him To santa ana and when they both were by a river they saw this very atractive lady but they knew alredy that legend of la siguanaba so my uncle didnt looked at her but his friend did the friend end up crazy(jugado por la siguanaba) his family sent him to a mental hospital and he died there! So all those men who find a pretty lady by rivers dont look ant her!

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you're family is cursed.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

la siguanaba

1:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

ryb57hik n

1:25 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

cgn drt h td hthdfsb aety6tubdgcv fewergwrggb

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gggggggggggggggggggggg nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i heard that too . el cipiteo appeared t grandma when she was a young girl.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my grandma told me that when my uncle pedro went one day early to work that la siguanaba appeared to him at a house and gave him water and later on the way he saw a black looking dog that was looking at him with these red eyes. that black looking dog tried robing his soul.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If u talking about the sort man no head sipitillo he doesn't do noting to u only laugh and throw stuff and whisltle

8:55 AM  
Blogger gcardinalli said...

OMG!!! I grew up hearing about La Siguanaba but my mom could never remember the whole story of how she came about.
As crazy as this sounds, this site just made my day!

Muchisimas Gracias!!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw her when i was at the river by San Vicente she was washing her clothes and i approached her and asked her if she uses downy or tide and if i can borrow some i ran out!!

10:36 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

When I was 14 I went to a river in Nueva Santa Rosa Guatemala I stayed there overnight I said Camp about 30 or 40 feet away from the water when I woke I was standing in neck level water add scratches all over my body and my hair was chewed off about 10 years later an old man in Florida came up to me and told me about my experience and Guatemala craziest thing ever he said that something at attached itself to me started throwing water at me saying he was relieving the burden I carry can anybody tell me what happened can anybody explain to me what happened I'm posting off my step mom's Yahoo account

9:16 PM  

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