Hispanics and Irish – Are We Cousins?

Rock of Cashel, Ireland

Hispanic people in North and Central America might not consider themselves to have an Irish lineage, but if you go back a few thousand years there is grounds for a common heritage between the Hispanic and Irish people. A branch of Celtic people settled in the northern Iberian Peninsula in what it is now Spain around 300 BC. These Celts also settled in what is now Ireland at a later time.

The Iberian peninsula comprises an area of Western Spain, Portugal, France, Gibraltar, and Andorra. The Greeks discovered the Iberian Peninsula moving westward and the name Iberia was first recorded for the area around 500 BC. Latin authors used the name Hispania for this area of Europe.

Hispanics and Irish Heritage: The Celts

The Celts were thought to be a warlike people who engaged in guerilla tactics known in the area.

Irish usually trace their lineage to Celts who were thought to have come from Central Europe, but recent DNA analysis of bloodlines shows that Irish have the closest relatives in Northern Spain.

Irish having closest relatives in northern Spain makes sense if you consider that boats were used to travel from place to place. So instead of crossing from Central Europe, France, Great Britain and Wales, the Celts might have sailed from the habitable coastline in Spain.

Based on genetic analysis men with Gaelic names have the highest incidence of haplogroup 1 gene, which were direct descendents of those who settled Ireland from Spain.

Iberian Celts

Hispanic and Irish might find their roots at the Rock of Cashel, Ireland.

Hispanic and Irish might find their roots at the Rock of Cashel, Ireland.

These Celts on the Iberian peninsula then were part of the group of Spaniards who many centuries later came to the new world and settled in what is now North, Central and South America. After settling in the New World, many Spaniards made families with native Americans in the area, creating a Hispanic population that is often mixed.

Many Hispanics can trace some of their bloodlines to Spaniards that settled into present day North, Central and South American Spanish speaking countries.

A large majority of Hispanics are mestizos, or mixed European and Native American ancestry due to decades of colonization and settlement. If some of these Spaniards also had Celtic blood as the Irish do, then Hispanics and Irish should be distant cousins.

Interestingly enough this R1b DNA subgroup is also found in Hispanic men in North and South America.

If you are Hispanic and have a bloodline that is partially from Europe, there is a chance that part of that lineage is Celtic. The Celts have the purest blood in areas of Ireland where little racial mixture has happened, but their bloodlines have spread far beyond there.

Much like Hispanic Jews, although it may not seem obvious on the surface, Celtic blood may be coursing through the veins of many Hispanics. Ironically, however, the Spanish came before the Irish in this case.

So are Hispanics and Irish cousins? In many cases, they almost certainly are. The Spaniards genetically have less in common with the Greeks or the Finnish or even the British than they do with Irish people. How you stack up individually requires a genetic test.

Are you Irish and Hispanic? Let me know in the comments!

The Legend of El Sombrerón in Guatemala

The Legend of El Sombreron in Guatemala

One of the best-known pieces of folklore in Guatemala involves El Sombrerón, a man in dark clothes and a sombrero who  enchants young women with his song. El Sombrerón, who many know him also as Tzipitio, appears at dusk with several mules.

When El Sombrerón courts a woman with large eyes and long hair and she returns his affections, he serenades her with love songs on his silver guitar. He braids her hair and the hair of her horses and even dogs. After that, the young woman is not able to eat or sleep and will find soil on her plate.

Variations of the Legend of El Sombrerón

The Legend of El Sombreron in Guatemala

The Legend of El Sombreron in Guatemala

The legend of El Sombrerón has many variations. In some Guatemalan myths and legends, he appears at each full moon and his mules carry coal. He wears all black but has loudly clanking boots and a huge belt buckle.

El Sombrerón is usually intimidating and ghostly, and Latino parents may tell their daughters that if they do not behave properly they will be put under his spell.

Like many Latin American legends such as La Llorona legend, El Sombrerón began with the story of a beautiful young woman.

In Guatemalan folklore, in La Recolección, a man with a black sombrero and a silver guitar serenaded a señorita with long braided hair and big eyes named Susana.

Susana’s parents worried about the man courting their daughter, so they forced her to come inside and eat, only to find that their daughter’s food had soil in it. Every night the mysterious man serenaded Susana, and she could not eat or sleep.

Eventually Susana’s parents took her to a local priest who cut and blessed her long hair. The strange man did not return to bother Susana, but the legend of El Sombrerón was born.

In areas of Mexico El Sombrerón is known as “The goblin” and is a scary creature, casting a spell on impressionable young women as he searches in vain for his true love.

Besides being a warning from parents, Tzipitio likely emanated in part from a cultural desire to explain love and to help women understand the changes they undergo when under the spell of romance.

Who hasn’t lost sleep and been unable to eat when enchanted by a mysterious lover? Even braiding hair nervously is a sign of courtship in women.

In this way the legend of El Sombrerón may reinforce the idea that Latin American women need to stay coy and in control in their romantic dealings.

Are El Sobrerón and El Zorro Similar?

El Sombrerón’s unwavering passion, mysterious comings and goings, ability with horses, large hat and black clothing are all similar to the popular Latin American legend of Zorro.

Although Tzipitio emerged in Guatemala in the cobblestone Catholic mission of La Recolección, the legend is also known in southern Mexico.

El Sombrerón is a strange mix of bizarre, scary and enchanting. The story was modified in many ways in Guatemalan folklore and the scary parts of the story may even make it to a television series called “American Horror Story” soon.

Have you felt the enchantment of love like that of El Sombrerón? Share in the comments!

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