The legend of Xocomil in Lake Atitlán in Guatemala

Antonio Mudarra
Antonio Mudarra

Have you ever heard of reading Xocomil? If you travel to Guatemala you will be able to hear many stories. In the Sololá region, this legend is a mystery that revolves around one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Atitlán.

The charms of Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán is located in the interior of Guatemala, in San Juan la Laguna. If there is something that stands out for it, it is for its beauty and for being surrounded by 3 impressive volcanoes, known as “The Three Giants”: Atitlán, Tolimán and San Pedro La Laguna.

Other of its charms are its lush forests and the fact that it is the deepest lake in Central America. You can meet him at our tour through Central America.

Currently, it is one of the tourist attractions par excellence and has been crowned as a magical place with a peculiar legend that has survived over time and that explains how the lake originated. Do you want to meet her?

The legend of Xocomil

In ancient times, the “Kaqchikel” language was spoken in the territory of present-day Guatemala. Translated into this peculiar language, Xocomil comes to tell us that the “fish from the shores of Lake Atitlán is collected by the wind.”

According to legend, before Lake Atitlán existed, there were 3 mighty rivers that joined together right in the center of “The Three Giants.” An idyllic place of great beauty for the luck of the villagers who lived there.

Every morning, the daughter of the region's chief came to this point to take a bath in the river, while enjoying the wonderful landscape. His name was Citlatzin, which translated into our language means Little Star. Citlatzin was known throughout the region for her great beauty and her sweet singing voice. Her voice was so beautiful that the rivers were madly in love with her. Every day, the rivers eagerly waited to hear her.

Citlatzin had no shortage of suitors and was engaged to the son of another important chief. However, he found love in a commoner, Tzilmiztli. It was an impossible love since at that time nobles and commoners were totally prohibited from having any type of relationship. Still, their love was above all.

Every day, the two lovers took a bath in the crystal clear waters of the rivers. Over time, Citlatzin stopped singing. The rivers, very worried, asked the wind what was the reason for Citlatzin's sudden silence. He told him about his relationship with Tzilmiztli and the winds were filled with fury.

His jealousy made the rivers agree with the wind that when Tzilmiztli entered the water, the wind would push him deeper into the waters until the young man drowned. They wanted to get rid of him.
When the young noblewoman saw what was happening she didn't think twice and entered the waters to die with her lover. When the rivers realized what had happened, they became even more angry and formed currents throughout the region that gave rise to Lake Atitlán. The wind that continues to blow regularly today is a symbol that both will never forget Citlatzin's sin.

Although the legend of the Xocomil is a beautiful love story that explains the origin of the Xocomil wind. The truth is that it is a natural phenomenon resulting from the combination of cold winds and warm winds. These pressure changes move very quickly, generating strong turbulence over the lake. Being surrounded by mountains, the effect is stronger. This happens in the afternoon.

You already know! If you plan to visit it and want go into the lake, be aware of the waves before venturing out as it can be dangerous.

Although the truth is that the true origin of the Xocomil and Lake Atitlán has nothing to do with the story that the legend tells, it is a pleasure to travel and learn about stories as enriching as that of the legend of the Xocomil.

5 comments

  1. They are very beautiful stories from Guatemala and the best thing is that they talk about landscapes or you look at landscapes.

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