El Sombrerón – folklore and legend

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El Sombrerón is a fictional character and one of the most famous legends of Guatemala, told in books and a 1950 film. El Sombrerón is also a bogeyman figure in Mexico and is referred to in some Colombian legends.

This character is also known with other names, like Tzipitio, the goblin, and sometimes Tzizimite, his main characteristics are always the same: a short, old-looking man with an opaque face, dressed in black with a thick, shiny belt; he wears a black, large hat and boots that make a lot of noise when he walks. His appearance is in conjunction with a sudden and unlikely cold breeze which soon disappears.

A similar legend in El Salvador is called Cipitio, who is a short boy with backward feet, and, of course, a big hat. El Cipito pursues pretty girls and torments them if they reject his advances.

When no-one is around he likes to mount horses and braid their tails and manes – when he cannot find horses, he braids the hair of dogs. He also likes to court young ladies who have long hair and big eyes. When he likes one in particular, he follows her, braids her hair and serenades her with his silver guitar – only the intended female victim can hear the song of El Sombrerón;  his victims become enamoured with his song and stop sleeping and eating, proceeding to waste away. Upon departure from the mortal realm, the El Sombrerón steals their soul to be with him forever.

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El Sombrerón appears at dusk with two huge black dogs attached by heavy chains, dragging along a group of mules carrying coal, with whom he travels around the city and its neighbourhoods. When a woman corresponds to his love, he ties the mules to the house’s pole where she lives, unhooks his guitar and starts singing and dancing. Some residents of La Recolección and Parroquia Vieja say he still wanders at nights when there is a full moon.

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A particular legend of La Recolección in Guatemala tells of a young woman named Susana; she was a very pretty girl, with long hair and big, hazelnut eyes. One night when there was a full moon, Susana was sitting in the balcony admiring the sky when suddenly, a short character with a big hat and a guitar approached her. Entranced by her beauty, he sang her a song but her parents overheard her stirrings and ordered her inside. Since that day she was unable to sleep as El Sombrerón continued to appear in the house or sang to her from the street.

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Unable to eat either as every time they served her food, it was contaminated with soil; her parents cut her hair and took it to the local church so that the priest would put holy water on it and prayers were said for her. A few days later the goblin stop bothering her. Culturally, the legend advises teenage girls to preserve the collective values of a society.

Daz Lawrence, MOVIES & MANIA

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