La Cucaracha origin

There is probably no way to verify this, but this is what my grandmother told me about this song.

When I was very little, my mother (who is from Spain) would sing this to me in bed before I fell asleep and when I would stay with my grandmother, she would also.

I remember asking my abuela about the song because it was such a weird song to sing to a kid and she told me that her mother and grandmother used to sing it to her because “a long time ago, there was a cockroach infestation in Spain and kids would wake up screaming because they would find them crawling all over their bodies and faces. The mom’s would sing the song to the kids to calm them down, letting the kids believe the cockroaches couldn’t climb into their beds because of the broken legs”.

After reading your article about this, it sounds like a very valid story, because, really, what mom or grandmother would lie to their kids? :slight_smile:

I hope someone can verify this! :slight_smile:

Link to the column.

I dunno. The gist of the song is that a cockroach can’t navigate very well because it had smoked marijuana. Was cannibis use common in Spain a couple generations ago?

I do remember hearing Speedy Gonzalez and friends singing it in one cartoon, after a night on the town. I remember thinking, with my high school spanish - “Hey, a drug reference in a 1950’s cartoon! The censors were asleep or didn’t speak any Spanish”. I’m amused to find the words are accurate, the guys at Looney Tunes weren’t just trying to slip something they made up past the censor.

well, according to the internet King Philip of Spain ordered it be grown all over his empire in 1564 and straight dope says its referenced back to the 1400’s - so it could still be true. Seems more reasonable that a mom would sing a song to soothe a kid than to sing to them about marijuana. but who knows. :slight_smile: