La Llorona (“the crying woman”) is a prominent figure in Mexican folklore. Although there are over a dozen variations of the tale, the common thread usually involves a woman who drowns her children in a river. In some tales, it’s because she hates her children, in others it’s to spite her lover. When she dies, her spirit reaches the gates of Heaven, where she is denied entry by God (or St. Peter in some versions) until she can find her children. Because of this, she wanders along rivers to search for the spirits of her children. Her constant weeping is responsible for her name, La Llorona.
Other variations of the legend mix her figure with that of La Malinche, given how they’re both considered to be traitors in their own way.