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The Legend of the Worry Dolls

Worry Dolls are tiny, hand-crafted dolls from Guatemala. The dolls are clothed in traditional Mayan costumes and stand
one-half to one inch tall.

Guatemalan artisans bind pieces of wood together or twist together short lengths of wire to create a frame and fashion a torso, legs, arms, and head. By winding cloth and yarn around the frame, the artisans give the doll shape. They use scraps of traditional woven fabric to make the doll costumes and wind more yarn to create the head, hair, feet and hands. Sometimes, they add a tiny woven basket or other traditional implements. Finally, they place a set of 6-8 dolls in tiny wooden boxes or cloth pouches for sale.

The indigenous people from the Highlands in Guatemala created Worry Dolls many generations ago as a remedy for worrying. According to the Mayan legend, when worrying keeps a person awake, he or she tells a worry to as many dolls as necessary. Then the worrier places the dolls under his or her pillow. The dolls take over the worrying for the person who then sleeps peacefully through the night. When morning breaks, the person awakens without the worries that the dolls took away during the night.

A variation of the legend instructs a person to tell the dolls her worries then place them in their cloth pouch or wooden box before going to bed.

Read more about Worry Dolls

 
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© 2008 Sara McDonnell


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