Mexican Mythology: Aluxes and the Cancun Airport Bridge

Those year end statistics that WP kindly provided held a surprise for me: Whereas my German blog got the most hits by people looking for “nudity” (yes, Germans are kinky – and imagine their disappointed faces when instead of some juicy video clips they get to my little blog!), English readers apparently are most interested in Mexican mythology. In fact, most hits I got by people looking for stories on duendes and aluxes, those little fellows in Mexican mythology that I already talked about in a previous post.

Cancun Airport BridgeI, too, love all things mystical, and that’s why it always gives me a little kick when we drive to Cancun: Before you enter Cancun, you pass a bridge that leads to the airport, and underneath this bridge there is a little stone building like a miniature temple. For a long time I didn’t know what this was all about. Clearly, it is too small to fulfill any purpose such as holding tools or I don’t know what – even for not so tall Mexicans. So I decided it must be for decoration purposes only. I found out I was wrong when finally, a colleague of my husband’s shed some light on the dark: It’s a home for aluxes (pronounced alooshes), those small fellows dressed in Mayan costumes who can make themselves visible if it serves their purpose. Some may remember that aluxes often ask people, mostly travellers and farmers, for offerings. Grant their wishes, and they will bring you good luck, but in case you don’t oblige they can cause pretty severe damage. The latter happened in this case.

You see, when they started to build the bridge leading to the airport, the construction workers received a warning by a Mayan leader that they had to ask the aluxes’ permission first as they were about to build on land that belongs to these little fellows. Of course, nobody believed him but sure enough, the bridge collapsed soon after being built. Still, nobody took the warning seriously but after rebuilding the bridge, it collapsed again although even the smartest engineers couldn’t find anything wrong with its construction.

That’s when it was decided that the Mayan gentleman should take up negotiations with the aluxes. The price claimed by the aluxes was a little house for them under the bridge (I still wonder why they didn’t pick a more idyllic spot…), and believe it or not, after the house had been built the bridge collapsed no more.

So if you ever pass this bridge, I suggest you give them a friendly wave. Do not call them by their name, though, as this is supposed to provoke them – or at least have some food handy then. I would hate for your car to break down just because you insulted a little alux!


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