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#462748 - 04/20/13 12:00 PM Belizean Folklore: The Legends of Belize
Marty Offline
The Belizean culture is unlike anything else on Earth. It’s a unique blending of many different influences, ranging from the Spanish Mestizos, to the German Mennonites, and the Ancient Maya. Today, aspects of these people live on in the nation of Belize and its folktales. Here are some of the land’s most compelling legends:

The Scary Sisimito

Legend has it that the hairy male Sisimitos and female Sisimitas lived deep in the caves of Belize. Their short, hirsute figures made them appear closer to apes than modern men. They ate fruits and leaves just like apes too, although they preferred snacking on human flesh.

It’s said that their heels were at the front of their feet and the toes at their back, a clever tactic that made their footprints appear as if they were heading in the opposite direction. Unsuspecting humans might feel the creatures were traveling away from them, only to discover they were dangerously close by.

A man would usually die within a month of looking a Sisimito in the eye. However women were much luckier, as a Sisimito’s gaze would prolong her life, if only she could escape. Sisimitos were known to abduct and rape women, while Sisimitas would kill and molest men.

The Sisimito and Sisimita weren’t without weakness though. They were petrified of water and dogs. Smart Belizeans knew they could escape an attack by walking near a river or with a canine companion.

Beware the Tata Duende
Deep in the Belizean jungle lives Tata Duende, there lives an ugly little man with backwards feet, a big red hat, and no thumbs. He greets the children who walk the jungle trails politely, and asks to see their hands. Belizean parents warn children to never oblige, lest Tata Duende rip their thumbs clean off!

The problem is, you can never be quite sure you’re in Tata Duende’s presence. Although his haunts probably won’t be on the tour for your typical luxury Caribbean cruise, this sneaky man will often change into a small animal, or even someone you know. Perhaps it’s best to keep your hands hidden in your pockets if you’re ever walking through the Belizean forests.

Xtabai, the Ultimate Seductress

The Xtabai might look gorgeous, but don’t be charmed by her striking good looks. This mythical, malicious creature preys on Belizean men. She lures them back to her Ceiba tree home, where they meet a grisly end.

One version of the story tells of a 15-year-old boy who often disobeyed his mother and stayed out late. One night, he came across the Xtabai, and found himself seduced by her flowing raven hair and sweet voice. They embraced, and the Xtabai transformed into a thorny tree with needles that pierced every part of the boy’s body. She disappeared as quickly as she arrived, and he returned home to nurse his wounds, determined to mind his mother in future.

As you can see, Belize is a land rich in vivid tales and intriguing mythology. These are just a few of the many great tales that the people of Belize have passed from generation to generation. Do you know of any other great pieces of Belizean folklore?

Chaa Creek blog

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Funny Beliefs And Superstitions Of Belize

I should have named this post, funny beliefs and superstitions of OLD Belize since for one reason or the other, the younger generation of Belizeans aren’t as superstitious as the old generation. Actually, when you look at some of the beliefs that old people believed in, you can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous they sound. But mind you, I respect and understand why these superstitions played such a vital part of their lives. These beliefs were passed down from parent to child over several generations, and these stories were used as tools to keep their children at bay from too much mischief and even possible harm. The same goes for Belizean Folklore.

Never sharpen your pencil on both sides, bad things will happen
This one was made popular by teachers, they would tell students that sharpening a pencil on both sides would bring bad luck and someone in your family could also die. Why would anyone want to sharpen both sides of a pencil? Well for starters, if a side broke, you’d have the other side to use, and second, kids also tried anything to seem cool and different. I assume that since sharp objects around kids are dangerous, adults made up that saying so that kids would be safer.

Bad Breeze wa ketch yuh
Don’t be making funny and weird faces or mimicking physically impaired persons since “Bad Breeze” could catch you and you would stay like that forever. Bad breeze was referred to as a bad wind that would permanently let you stay in the mocking manner you were. Since children love mischief, parents made up this superstition to make sure they respected others.

Boys and girls, when someone is sweeping, don’t let the broom hit your feet
If the broom hits your feet, that would mean that you’d have to marry an old lady or man. This was probably made popular by moms who didn’t want their children running around whenever they were sweeping and doing house chores. This was a hit among young girls as they surely didn’t want to marry an old grumpy man.

Big Peteh or Tamales foot
Don’t walk around barefoot as you’ll grow a “Peteh” or “Tamales foot”. Peteh is the Belizean creole word for big, flat and broad feet. I don’t know why but growing up, there was nothing better than being without shoes or sandals. Heck, I even enjoyed playing soccer barefoot as I had better control of the ball. Adults always warned us about putting on shoes or sandals, but I think it was just because they wanted us to protect our feet from prickles and bruises.

Mind yuh turn mermaid pan Good Friday
When Easter came, school was out and everyone wanted to spend hot days at the river. But on Good Friday, no one was allowed to go to the river since you’d turn into a mermaid. This was ridiculous and I knew adults only said that because as Christians, Good Friday was meant to be a day to forego all pleasures and imitate the suffering and death of Christ.

No give and tek back, yuh wa ketch Piscuch
This one is funny. If you gave something away and later took it back later, you would catch a “Piscuch”, a small bump on the eyelid – which is actually a Chalazion. This was done to prevent kids from being mean and to embrace sharing their toys and snacks with others. Also, another way you could supposedly catch a piscuch was by watching dogs have sex or take a dump. (HAHA)

BelizeAdventure.ca

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#479125 - 12/06/13 10:48 AM Re: Belizean Folklore: The Legends of Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Legends of Belize: Paranormal, Cryptid, and Ghost Stories!

Two Dead Explorer fans invited me to discover the cryptozoologial, paranormal, supernatural, and unexplained creatures and stories that haunt Belize! They sent me an autographed copy of their new book Legends of Belize. In Belize, Central America, there are terrifying stories about strange creatures such as the jungle gnome called Tata Duende who has backwards feet, rips thumbs off, and has magical powers or the beautiful but deadly seductress named Xtabai who steals souls and shape-shifts into animals, people, and even someone you know. Stories of these creatures and many more are so terrifying, they are past down from generation to generation as folklore and legends. The ancient legends are captured, documented, and preserved by Belizean Artists and Animators, GrissyG and Dismas, in a comprehensive series and book with images of fine art, information about the creatures, a compare and contrast of Belizean myths with other myths around the world, description of the art process, and Belizean cultural iconography that inspired the series. This a great book about the mythical creatures that dwell in the jungles and water of Belize! I am grateful for the gift. Please support them if you can!


Xtabai

As Belizeans, we are very superstitious people, and so is the rest of the Caribbean. All areas of Mesoamerica have their own traditional folktales and legends, and within the Maya territory, there are numerous characters and stories. Xtabai is what many would consider to be the most malevolent of them all. The very mention of her name is enough to bring chills to someone’s entire body. The character is not fully understood, which brings even more mystery to its motives and is best described as a demon.


It was never alive. It was never a person that lived her life and after death failed to find her path to the afterlife. This is a demon that takes the form of a beautiful woman and manifests itself near the mouth of a cave at the base of the Ceiba tree, the sacred tree of the Ancient Maya. This woman is described having long beautiful hair, and wears a traditional white maya dress that is long enough to cover her feet. This entity appears only to men and may take the form of one’s wife or girlfriend, or simply someone that the man knows. Doing this puts the man into a spell. The man will try to catch up with her, but the entity will always be a few steps ahead. It will eventually lead the man to a cave, and if he enters, he will never be heard of again. The only way to break the spell is to look at her feet as she has giant bird feet that she tries to hide with her gown. Seeing that will snap the man out of the spell and he will be able to run away.

Maya women traditionally wear a huipil. They have been wearing this garment from before the Spanish arrival. It is worn by groups living in the Yucatan and Campeche states. The Maya living in highland Guatemala also wear their own traditional huipil. The huipil worn today is a variation that incorporates design features from other Mexican regions, and even from Europe. In all stories of Xtabai, the white dress plays a main role, and so is the act of hiding her feet. There are many styles of huipils throughout Mesoamerica, but there is only one style that actually covers the feet and is worn by the Mestizo from Yucatan. We know that during the Castle War of 1840, many people fled Yucatan and came south, into Belize and Guatemala. There is a very high chance that then is when the folktales made it into this area. If that is so, then Xtabai is of Mestizo origin and the character is wearing a Yucatan huipil.


When the ancient Maya first accessed caves, they were afraid of going inside. Caving archaeologists find the oldest pots at the mouth of the cave and the newer pots are found deeper into it, giving us reason to believe that the Maya became braver as time progressed. They described the cave entrance as the entrance to the afterlife, a place of eternal rest and a place of fright. The Popul Vuh is a mythological story about two boys that descended into the underworld and described a place where many death gods reside.

Xtabai is a mixture between Yucatec culture and ancient Maya belief. She is a demon that manifests itself in front of a cave, a place that also has connections with an evil underworld. She appears at the base of a Ceiba tree, thus desecrating a sacred symbol and giving us an insight that this character has no respect for this world’s ideology and is altogether evil. Today the tradtion lives on people gathered around a camp fire or around in their homes telling scary stories to scare children and adults alike.


Cayo Tour Guide Association


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#479224 - 12/07/13 09:29 PM Re: Belizean Folklore: The Legends of Belize [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
Marty - Is this a new edition? When I first started coming here in the '90's I bought a book named that and love the stories.
_________________________
Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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