In a previous post the beads used to decorate dolls and other items were featured. Universally, dolls are a part of teaching and passing on culture. Many are part of customs, and the above Worry Dolls, usually Guatemalan, are a variety that’s become widely familiar in southern and central American continent custom.
The worry doll is made out of traditional clothed figures, and is associated with easing children’s minds. The legend has it that by placing a worry doll under the pillow and sleeping on it, worries and cares can be passed on and the child’s mind put at ease.
Worry dolls (muñecas quitapenas), or trouble dolls, are very small and colorful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. Some medical centers use them in conjunction with treatment for disease in children. According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person’s place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night. Parents may remove the doll during the night, reinforcing the child’s belief that the worry is gone. Some parents involve the child in making the dolls to further increase the psychological benefits of releasing worries, and instructions may be found online.
The dolls are found in clothing designs and framed for decorations, as well.