Death comes for all of us, for some as a shadow waiting to snatch our souls from us, for others an angel descended from heaven to bring us home. In all cultures around the world, there are references or myths about personified death. The image of death is depicted as a grim reaper, a guardian of the underworld, a faceless ghost, and in Mexico it is theSanta Muerte.
Although the Catholic Church and the Mexican government have officially rejected the cult of theSanta Muerte (the saint of death) in Mexico, there is no denying the popularity and fervor of her followers. Death is sometimes depicted in the form of a man, but in Mexico you will most often find it in the form of a female entity. A skeletal figure, the Santa Muerte should not be confused with the popular Mexican image of La Catrina - the personification of Mexican natives who wanted to adopt European styles, an image first drawn by Jose Guadalupe Posada.
Mexico has a special affection for the Virgin of Guadalupe - her worship far exceeds that of all other Catholic saints and perhaps even of Christ himself. So it makes sense that the Mexican Saint of Death is a woman. This country also has a long tradition of celebrating the dead and gathering with them during the annual Day of the Dead festivities. Mexicans view the Dia de Muertos as an opportunity to invite the dead back among the living and to celebrate the life they lived with those they left behind.
This tradition dates back to before Spanish colonization, when the indigenous tribes of Mexico practiced a strong death cult, believing in various gods and goddesses of the underworld and the dead and spending their summer months performing rituals similar to those of the Day of the Dead, such as setting up altars for the dead, eating special foods and celebrating with music and dancing.
La Santa Muerte has grown in popularity from the 1990s until today, when the situation of ordinary Mexicans is complicated by the violence of the drug trade, poverty and the difficulty of making their way in a society that does not is not always kind to its lower classes. That's part of its appeal to Mexico's poorer, hard-working residents.
Until July 1, 2016, a monthly Santa Muerte rosary was held at a street altar in Tepito, one of Mexico City's toughest central neighborhoods. The rosary was held at an altar maintained by the Romero family in Calle Alfarería, but it was canceled by her hostess when her husband was shot and killed in front of the altar on June 7, 2016. But believers still come: to pray the Santisima to heal their ailments, solve their problems and protect their children. They are warned not to make promises to the Santa Muerte that they cannot keep or risk feeling his wrath.
Other altars are in Mexico City's Centro Historico where believers leave red apples, liquor, tobacco, flowers and candles as offerings to the flaquita ("the skinny one"), as she is known. sometimes.
Throughout the country, you will find variations of the Santa Muerte cult, especially in the states of Veracruz and Hidalgo. Most believers have a figurine of Santa Muerte in their home, which they decorate, dress, talk to and pray to - an important member of their family. The unspoken rules of the Santa Muerte cult are to give her the respect and deference she demands. Instead of being seen as a satanic symbol in Mexico, the Santa Muerte is still under the guidance of God, as one of his workers, a necessary part of every human's life cycle, and a saint we all need to know .