The Magical Town of Cuetzalan

That’s not just a fancy term that I coined up: in 2009, Cuetzalan, Puebla was named one of Mexico’s “Pueblos Magicos”, and oh how fitting that name is! Today, we met up at the university and boarded two small buses for the trip to the different state. It was long, to say the least, and the small and curvy roads did cause a little nausea, but the frequent rests (four to be exact) made it more than bearable, and we truly enjoyed ourselves. I personally enjoyed the trip to the small town of Cholula, where we stopped and toured a church before having lunch. I enjoyed that part so much because I was finally able to get a lot of my souvenir shopping out of the way. I bought so many beautiful things at really great prices. Unfortunately, we did not spend a lot of time in Cholula, as we still had many hours of riding ahead of us. We did, however, stop at the most breathtaking volcano I’ve ever seen (and probably ever will see) in my life: the Popocatepetl volcano. There are many different legends behind the origin of this volcano, two of which I will share with you now. As one legend goes, there was a princess named Iztaccihuatl who fell in love with the warrior Popocatepetl. Because Izta’s father did not want Popo and Izta to be together, he sent Popo to war, promising him that he would be allowed to marry Izta upon his return. However, Izta’s father secretly wished that Popo would die in the war, and he told Izta that he had. Overcome with grief by the death of her fallen lover, Izta died. When Popo returned and discovered that the love of his life was no more, he plunged a dagger into his heart. Because of the purity of their love, God covered them with snow and changed them into mountains and volcanoes. Izta’s mountain is sometimes called, “La Mujer Dormida”, which is Spanish for “The Sleeping Woman” because it looks like a woman lying on her back. Popo became a volcano because his fire demonstrates his rage at the loss of his love. Popocatepetl Volcano on the way to Cuetzalan. Another legend of the two goes a bit differently. Popo and Izta were in love, but Popo had to go off to fight a war. One of the enemy soldiers sent a letter to the emperor (Popo’s father) informing him that Popo had died in the war. When Izta learned of his death, she could not stop crying and refused to eat. A few days later, she died of heartbreak. As her father was preparing for her funeral, Popo returned victorious from the war. The emperor was taken back, to say the least, but he informed Popo that Izta had died. Popo was very sad. He took Izta’s body and carried it to a far away town, where he placed it in front of a mountain and ordered his men to build a table of flowers and he laid Izta’s body on top. He knelt over her crying all night until his heart gave out from the sadness. The Gods were touched by his sacrifice and turned their bodies into great volcanoes. Popo’s volcano is the biggest, and he sometimes throws out smoke to signify that he is still watching over his princess, who lays by his side.


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