Monday, November 19, 2007

A Mythological Moment- The Aluxes

I love learning about the myths and legends of Mexico, particularly of the Yucatan. The Mayan people have a rich culture of mystical beings and practices and the Alux (pronounced "aloosh") is one of my favourite stories.

The people of the Yucatan peninsula that experience lost items, fevers, moved furniture and even middle of the night phone calls often blame the Aluxes for their troubles. The Aluxes are small dwarf like creatures known for their mischief and playfulness. If you wish to steer clear of their pranks, you must leave offerings of food and drink for them or build them shelter on your land. If you treat the Aluxes right, they will protect your land from misfortune and can help your crops. If you don't give the Aluxes the respect they think they deserve, you may find yourself short a chicken or two. If you get lost in the jungle and they offer help, most likely their intention is to get your even more lost so be careful!

The most "famous" Alux story of this region revolves around a bridge that is built to connect the hotel zone to the airport, crossing over the highway. The story is that the bridge construction was fraught with disaster. They would build it, it would fall. Apparently a local Mayan man came to the construction site to inform the team that they had angered the Alux and he would continue to cause havoc with the bridge unless they built him a shelter. And so they did! There is a little house built on the east side of the highway, under the bridge, especially for the Alux. Once they showed their respect, the construction went ahead unhindered and the bridge is indeed intact. One day I WILL get a pic of that house, so far no luck getting a good snap from the bus (and I don't think a bus full of commuters would appreciate my request to stop to grab one).

Many homes and even the big hotels have houses or shrines to the Aluxes, if you come on vacation just ask your friendly staff members and they will know where to find it though they don't often talk about it. I think we have an Alux in our house, I've got a pile of missing socks, I can never find the lids to my tupperware and sometimes the cat appears to be playing with nothing. No plans yet for constructing a house for the Alux, I'll wait til he asks.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

This is very interesting! I love the picture of the Alux on the left at the bottom. HE looks so cute, LOL.

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