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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: Mexican Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 2 - The Weeping Woman and Sneezing. I'm Eric and I'm joined by Alex.
Alex: Hola! Hi, I'm Alex.
Eric: In this lesson we’ll talk about two common superstitions in Mexico. The first superstition is about bad luck. What’s the superstition called in Mexican Spanish?
Alex: La Llorona
Eric: Which literally means "the Weeping Woman." Alex, can you repeat the Mexican Spanish phrase again?
Alex: [slow] La Llorona [normal] La Llorona
Eric: So Alex, do you think it’s fair to call this a ghost story?
Alex: I think so. This story always terrified me as a child. If I heard a noise at night, I always thought it was la Llorona, crying for her children.
Eric: In Mexico, it's believed that you should not walk by a river at night because of a beautiful, female ghost.
Alex: La Llorona. The story says that she drowned her children.
Eric: Now she looks for children who have wandered off and drowns them. No one’s sure where this story comes from.
Alex: And it depends on the region. La Llorona may be the spirit of la Malinche, the woman who betrayed the Aztecs to Cortes. Or, the Aztec goddess Cihuacoatl.
Eric: So remember kids don’t wander off at night, or you might not come back.
Alex: oooOOOOOooooOOOOoooo. Spooky.
Eric: The second superstition is about good luck. What’s the superstition called in Mexican Spanish?
Alex: desearle salud a alguien que estornuda
Eric: Which literally means "wishing good health to someone that sneezed." Let’s hear it in Mexican Spanish again.
Alex: [slow] desearle salud a alguien que estornuda [normal] desearle salud a alguien que estornuda
Eric: So in the US, we say “bless you” when someone sneezes. Do you say the same thing in Mexico?
Alex: Not quite. We say salud.
Eric: Which means "health." This was to protect that person from evil.
Alex: Now, saying this is just good manners.
Eric: It's probably because people used to believe that the devil could get in through your mouth.
Alex: or that your soul could be expelled with the force of the sneeze.
Eric: Wouldn’t want that to happen.
Alex: I think you’ll be alright.


Eric: There you have it - two Mexican superstitions! Are they similar to any of your country’s superstitions? Let us know in the comments!
Alex: Hasta pronto!