In deference to superstition and a centuries-old legend, in order to stop her Jewish godson from turning into a werewolf, the President of Argentina has legally adopted him.
President Christina Fernández de Kirchner met Yair Tawil and his family at her office last week in honor of the ceremony, which has been conducted in the country for over 100 years. The family lit Hanukkah candles together on a Hanukkah menorah from Israel with the President at the ceremony.
The president in her tweets and photos described to her 3.4 million Twitter followers the “magical moment” with a “marvelous family.” She described Yair as “a total sweety,” and his mother a “Queen Esther.” She tweeted that the Tawils “are a very special family. They have a sort of peace, happiness and a lot of love that is not common.”
Argentinian folklore states that the seventh son, born in a string of boys with no girls in between, will turn into “el lobison.”
According to legend, the boy will turn into a werewolf on the first Friday after his 13th birthday. The boy is then destined to turn into the creature at midnight every time there is a full moon, filled with the instinct to hunt and kill before he can return to his human form.
Legend also says that not only will the creature feed on excrement, unbaptized babies and the flesh of the recently deceased, but they are incredibly strong and can create new werewolves by biting.
In the 19th century, so many people were afraid of the animals that they abandoned or even murdered their children. This practice caused the President to begin adopting the children, hoping to stop the actions.
The tradition began in 1907, becoming a decree in 1973 by Juan Domingo Peron, who also offered to adopt baby girls.
The seventh son or daughter in a family becomes the godchild of the President, receiving presidential protection, and is awarded a gold medal and full educational scholarship good until his 21st birthday, writes Lizzie Dearden for The Independent.
The stories live on as reports of a dog-like creature attacking livestock continue to circulate around the country.
Yair is the first Jewish boy to be adopted under the tradition, which only applied to Catholic children until 2009, making him the first Jewish godson of a president in Argentina’s history.
Yair’s parents, Shlomo and Nehama Tawil, had written a letter to the President in 1993 asking for help, but were denied at the time. Their wish came true this year, and they attended the ceremony with three of Yair’s six brothers.