||This article may require copy editing for idiomatic English. (September 2015)|
Chilean mythology consists of a multitude of myths and legends from the beliefs of Chile's indigenous groups (Mapuche, Tehuelche,...). They have also been influenced by colonizers of European origin, mainly during the Spanish colonization of Chile.
These various influences have helped to differentiate Chilean mythology (ex. Chilota mythology).
The varied terrain and climate throughout Chile have influenced the development of new, distinct beliefs and myths that have served to enrich the country's mythology.
In the study and classification of ″Chilean mythology″, the mythology is typically categorized geographically.
The myths and legends of the Northern zone of the country are characterized as generally presenting characters and legends closely related to the desert, religious devotion, and mining. Examples of these myths include: the myth of Alicanto, la Lola, el Yastay, the Achaches, the Umpillay, and the Quilpaná, in addition to legends like Juan Soldado, the treasure of Guayacán, the Payachatas, La Tirana, and the virgin of Andacollo. The northern myths feature a profound influence from the Inca and many of the pre-Incan civilizations of the area, but they have adapted a characteristic of their own through a rooted base in Spanish colonialism; these manifest themselves through parties and celebrations in each region.
The Spanish first settled in Chile's most populated central zone, leading to the emergence of a unique mythology in the Chilean colonial era. This mythology was characterized by an assimilation of many mythological characters arising from Mapuche tribal beliefs.
The myths and legends of this zone contain many versions modified from oral tradition. Some of the most popular and well known mythological figures include: Pedro Urdemales, la Calchona, la Llorona, el Culebrón, el Chonchón, and the Piuchén; legends include: the Inca Lagoon, the Burial of Cacique Vitacura and Rere's Bell. Additionally, there are many references to stories about the appearance of the devil (El Mandinga, and of encounters with witches).
Of all of the mythologies in the insular central zone, the strongest and most important myth source is Easter Island. Much like what has occurred in other parts of Chile, Easter Island mythology also developed from a very particular world view. This led the inhabitants of Easter Island to create very singular explanations about the creation of man and their land. Examples of these myths include: Make-Make and Aku-Aku.
This zone presents its mythology and legends, in part, from many of the same colonial stories present in the central continental zone of Chile; as well as myths and legends influenced by/or belonging to Mapuche indigenous beliefs. Some of these beings and legends of this zone include the City of the Caesars, The Three Pascuales, and spirits of Mapuche beliefs like Pillán, the Wangulén, the Wekufes, the Anchimallén, Tented and Caicos, and the Cuero, among many others.
In the Southern zone, the myths and legends of the Chiloé Archipelago possess a distinct character from those of the rest of the country. This is due to the geographical isolation and the union of indigenous and Spanish traditions. Phenomena such as mist, strong winds, thick forests, and rough seas have been part of the inspirational source of a nourished mythical tradition, which represents itself through characters and scenes. The most important myths and legends of Chiloé are: the Caleuche and the Trauco, followed by the Fiura, the Pincoya, the Invunche, the Camahueto, the Basilisco chilote, and the Millalobo.
Mythologies and legends
The most important Mythologies and Legends are:
Marcela Donoso, a Chilean painter, made a set of oil paintings describing 30 relevant Chilean myths. A collection book has been made of these paintings.
- Myth and Magic Infuse Chilean Island 2008 (English)
- Antonio Acevedo Hernández. Leyendas de Chile. Colección Leyenda y tradición. Biblioteca Quimantú para todos. Quimantú, 1971. (Spanish)
- Keller Rueff Keller R. Mitos y leyendas de Chile. Enciclopedia moderna de Chile. Editorial Jerónimo de Vivar, 1972. (Spanish)
- Yolando Pino Saavedra. Folktales of Chile. Routledge & K. Paul, 1967.