The worry dolls from Guatemala
These dolls come from Guatemala and southern Mexico, where the descendants of the Mayas still use them as an amulet to help their children sleep. They can vary in length from 1.5 to 10 centimetres, usually with an internal structure of wire or wood and also vegetable threads. They are usually dressed in cotton, wool or other colourful fabrics, such as aguayo cloth, which is very typical in the country. In some regions they are also known as “quitapesares dolls” or “chamulas”.
The origin of the worry dolls
The origin of these dolls comes from a Mayan goddess called Ixmucané, who received a special gift from the sun god. This endowment gave her the power to solve any problem that might trouble a human being. Thus, the Guatemalan quitapenas doll represents this goddess and her wisdom.
How to use these ethnic dolls
Originally these figurines were intended to help children, but nowadays they are also used by adults. When you can’t sleep, or if you have nightmares, the little doll takes care of your sleep, allowing you to rest peacefully. To benefit from their spiritual power, we should talk to them in private before going to bed and tell them about our problems, sorrows or sadness. Then we say that we want to be happy and give them a kiss, and finally place them under our pillow. Throughout the night they will look for ways to solve or calm our sorrows.
They are usually collected in boxes or cloth bags in groups of 5 or 6, to be used alternately on different days of the week. In this way, the dolls are not overloaded, with the opportunity to rest for a few days. They can also be stroked after a night’s sleep, so that the sorrows they carry with them do not hurt.