The city I live in has more Mexican restaurants than graves. There’s this fantastic one that I am in love with. Just thinking about it makes me want to swoon on over and order something. If only I had money, transportation, or a gut that likes human food.
*slams head into wall*
*why can’t my gut love Mexican food like I do*
In every single restaurant, I noticed the same painting. Which got me curious. The myth lover in me knew there had to be a good story behind it.
I looked it up.
There’s a good story behind it.
The painting is of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl.
They are the names of two volcanoes visible in Mexico City, which are more than 17,000 feet high. They’re the second and third highest mountains in Mexico.
Iztaccihuatl means “White Woman” because the mountains are always snow capped. The mountain, which has four peaks, looks like the silhouette of a lady lying on her back. Hence the name. Though, people typically refer to it as “Sleeping Woman”.
Popocatepetl means “Smoking Mountain” and is still an active volcano.
The two are connected by a mountain pass named Paso de Cortes.
But that’s not what’s interesting.
At first, my only thoughts were that Popo and Izta have quite the tragic love story. I thought it was less love story and more tragedy. But a few days later, after having mulled it over, I realized I really like this story. And I do think it’s a tragedy. But I think it is certainly a love story.
Oh, and I’m going to shorten their names to Izta and Popo because so far I have failed at typing their names correctly. I gave up and copy and pasted their names. No laughing.
Izta was the princess; daughter of the ruler. Her lover, Popo, wasn’t allowed to marry her until he went into battle and defeated his enemy.
So off went Popo to fight and Izta awaited his triumphant return.
Popo was victorious, killing their enemies. (Yay!)
But someone told Izta that Popo had not only failed but had died. (not yay)
Some versions of the story say this devious someone was a rival of Popo’s. Others state it as a jealous man who wanted Izta for himself. Regardless, the effect was the same.
Izta fell sick and died from a broken heart. And then Popo popped in to find the love of his life dead because of a lie.
He carries her body to the mountains and builds a pyre for the both of them. He kneels in front of her and dies.
In some versions, Popo remained there to watch over her in her sleep for so long that the snow covered them both and they became volcanoes. In others, the gods were so moved by the love the two shared and the tragedy of their deaths, that they turned Popo and Izta into mountains so they would be together forever.
Regardless, Popo now kneels, facing Izta who lies sleeping, for as long as this earth stands.
What I like about this story is – love wins. It may be a bit out of the box. But this story is different than most. They’re together. Forever.
Popo didn’t come home and go on a crazy rampage, killing and maiming out of rage. He focused on his lady. I found that quite interesting. Especially since Popo was a warrior.
I love that he was done. As if his life was over now that she was gone. I wish we had more love like that these days. Love that shows and isn’t all about flashy and hollow gestures.
(I don’t recommend anyone jumps off a bridge or offs themselves when their lover dies. I’m simply commenting on this as a story.)
I really enjoy that this popular legend surrounds love surviving all – even death. It’s all over Mexican restaurants. I love that there’s a celebration of a love story all over the city I live in, in the details.
Also, why do all old legends and myths surround everyone that’s in love, dying??? Can we answer that question please?
Anywho. Here are some photos of the two volcanoes.