Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has stirred up a social media frenzy after posting a photo on his social media accounts claiming it to be a mythological woodland spirit similar to an elf. The photo reportedly shows an “Aluxe,” which is a mischievous woodland spirit in Mayan folklore. Despite some people speculating that López Obrador’s post may have been a joke, it appears that he was entirely serious about the existence of the creature. In his caption, the president claimed that the photo was taken three days ago by an engineer, and it appears to be an Aluxe, adding that “everything is mystical.”
The photo, taken at night, shows a tree with a branch forming what looks like a halo of hair, and what may be stars forming the figure’s eyes. López Obrador has long expressed admiration for indigenous cultures and beliefs. Engineers and workers are currently in the Yucatan peninsula constructing a tourist train, which is the president’s pet project. Although López Obrador may believe the photo was taken within the past week, it’s highly unlikely since the exact photo has been posted before.
Interestingly, a tweet from February 2021 alleged that the same figure was spotted in a park in Manchester, England. The following day, multiple Mexican media outlets reported the same figure as a “witch” in Nuevo León in northeast Mexico. According to traditional Mayan belief, “Aluxes” are small, mischievous creatures that inhabit forests and fields and are prone to playing tricks on people, like hiding things. Some people leave small offerings to appease them.
The ancient Mayan civilization reached its height from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D. on the Yucatan Peninsula and in adjacent parts of Central America. However, the Mayas’ descendants continue to live on the peninsula. Many continue speaking the Mayan language and wearing traditional clothing, while also conserving traditional foods, crops, religion, and medicine practices, despite the conquest of the region by the Spanish between 1527 and 1546.
López Obrador’s post has sparked a lot of debate on social media, with some people ridiculing him for believing in mythical creatures, while others have praised him for embracing indigenous beliefs and keeping them alive. Regardless of people’s opinions, the president’s post has shed light on the fascinating folklore and mythology of the Mayan culture, which has continued to captivate people’s imaginations for centuries.