La Llorona Xochimilco: Celebrating Day of the Dead in Mexico City

La Llorona Xochimilco: Celebrating Day of the Dead in Mexico City

Yesterday evening, my husband and some friends and I attended the La Llorona show in Xochimilco, Mexico City. The evening consisted of riding the famous colorful trajineras of Xochimilco at night to a small island where the show occurred. The La Llorona Xochimilco show was incredible to say the least. It was full of glow in the dark costumes, live music, singing, dancing and acting. Here is how and why I think you should check out the La Llorona Xochimilco show in Mexico City for Day of the Dead.

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Show Times and Tickets

The La Llorona show in Xochimilco happens every Friday and Saturday night of October each year. It also occurs on the Days of the Dead (October 31 – November 2). You can check show times and buy tickets here at Ticketmaster. At the time of writing this blog post, tickets cost $380 Mexican pesos per person for General seating.

How to Get to the La Llorona Xochimilco Show

La Llorona Xochimilco, Mexico City
Google Maps screenshot of the location of Embarcadero Cuemanco in Xochimilco.

The La Llorona show occurs in Xochimilco which is located in the south of Mexico City. Xochimilco is actually quite a large area but it is most famous for it’s trajineras (colorful boats) that you can ride through beautiful canals between man-made chinampas (islands) while listening to live mariachi music.

There are many embarcaderos (piers) in which you can normally get on a trajinera and go for a river cruise during the day. However, to get the La Llorona show you need to show up at the Embarcadero Cuemanco. Our tickets were for 7pm so we made sure to arrive at 6:45pm so that we had some extra time to grab a spot in line, and buy some snacks and drinks before getting on the boats. It’s a good idea to arrive a bit early because it tends to get pretty crowded and hectic, especially if you go on Day of the Dead instead of earlier in October.

To get to the Embarcadero Cuemanco, the easiest thing you can do is grab an Uber. Just make sure that you put in ‘Embarcadero Cuemanco’ into your destination on the Uber app instead of just ‘Xochimilco’ because the piers or embarcaderos are actually quite far from each other so you could miss your boat if you get off at the wrong stop.

What Exactly is the Legend of La Llorona?

La Llorona Xochimilco, Day of the Dead

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La Llorona literally means ‘The Weeping Woman’ or ‘The Crier’ in Spanish. The legend can be traced back by four centuries and similarities can be drawn between her and Medea from Greek mythology. There are many different versions of the legend so I’ll explain a few of them here.

Many Different Versions of the Legend

One version of the legend says that La Llorona was a native woman who was mistress to Hernán Cortés when he was conquering Mexico. The story says that Hernán left her when she was pregnant and married a Spanish woman. La Llorona then murdered the children she bore with Hernán in vengeance.

Another version of the story which was shown at the showing of La Llorona in Xochimilco is a bit different. In this tale, La Llorona had a brother who went to Tenochtitlán to confront the Spanish who were attempting to take power. He left while she was pregnant. When he came back she had already given birth to two babies. He was killed by the Spanish shortly after coming back and in grief, the woman sacrificed and drowned her two babies and herself to the gods in the hopes that this would protect her people from the Spanish.

These legends and stories could also be linked to the story of Chalchiuhtlicue who was the Aztec goddess of water. She is thought to have somehow been linked to Tlaloc, the god of rain. Some say that she was quite terrifying and she was known to overturn boats and drown people. Sacrifices of children were also made to honor the rain gods.

How La Llorona is Believed to Haunt People Today

La Llorona Singing in Xochimilco, Mexico City from Just Leaving Footprints on Vimeo.

Legend has it that La Llorona can now be seen wandering by the river banks looking and grieving for her deceased children. She is thought to be dressed all in white and some stories say that she will sometimes drown nearby children in vengeance and jealousy of her own lost babies.

More Information on the Legend of La Llorona

The information on the legend of La Llorona that you see here was found via the following articles. You can read these articles more in depth to learn more about the history of the legends below.

What Happens During the La Llorona Xochimilco Show?

When you arrive to the Embarcadero Cuemanco, you can grab some snacks or drinks to bring on the boat before the show. Vendors also sell souvenirs that you can remember your trip by. After you’ve loaded up on snacks you will be told to wait in a long line up to get on a trajinera that will paddle you towards the island where the show will be held.

You may be able to see the trajinera carrying the Weeping Woman dressed in white on your way to the island. This trajinera says ‘La Llorona’ on the top and glows in the dark. La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) will have full skeleton face paint and be dressed in white and her trajinera will most likely be playing music.

Getting to the Island to Watch the Show

La Llorona Xochimilco | Glow in the dark Pyramid on a Chinampa

By the time you arrive to the island where the show will be held, it will be quite dark. The boats will all line up in a giant semi circle around the island to watch the show. Even if you get a spot that is located to the side of the island, you will be still be able to see the show as they have screens located to the sides of the island to show what is happening at the front. There are also different boats that come out in front of the island filled with performers as well. Some of the performers even had glowing red eyes.

On the top of the island is a pyramid that changes colors and glows in the dark. There are also many flashing lights on the pyramid. The show was absolutely amazing. I really loved seeing the costumes of everyone involved. They were all very colorful and bright. The music was all live and the acting was really good too.

Food, Drinks and Bathroom Breaks

Throughout the show, other boats may come behind your own boat to sell you food and drinks. We were also told that there were bathrooms located nearby although I’m unsure of how we would have gotten to them. I think perhaps we would have had to tell someone on one of the boats selling food and ask for a ride to the nearby bathrooms if we needed to go. In my opinion, it’s best to just go to the bathroom before you get on the trajinera so that you don’t miss any of the show.

The Show is Still Worth Seeing Even if You Don’t Speak Spanish

Keep in mind that the entire show happens in Spanish (except for one song that was sung in an indigenous language). In my opinion, even if you don’t speak the language, it is still a show that you will enjoy based on the music, lights, costumes, fireworks, and energy of the event. Plus, now that you have read this article, you already know the main idea of the legend anyway.

You can look up show times and buy your tickets to see La Llorona in Mexico City here. 

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La Llorona Xochimilco: Celebrating Day of the Dead in Mexico City

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