Santa Muerte
  • Santa Muerte

Santa Muerte


Image of Santa Muerte

Size: Approximately 30 cm tall.

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Santa Muerte or Saint Death is part of Mexican popular religion represented by a skeletal-shaped figure who is often holding a globe, sickle, hourglass or scales.
Santa Muerte and Mexican culture

Santa Muerte has become ubiquitous in Mexico and is increasingly common among Mexican immigrants in the United States. Santa Muerte is neither accepted nor authorized by the Catholic church, but devotees — predominantly Catholics — ask Santa Muerte for protection in difficult situations and assistance to ensure love, economic success and health. There are celebrations throughout the country for Saint Death, so that she can help lost causes.

The media associates the figure of Saint Death with drug trafficking where participants in organized crime claim to be protected by the image of the saint.

There is an aura that the image protects the disadvantaged and less privileged in Mexican society. Those who are far from the Catholic religion or who are part of minorities feel closer to the cult of Santa Muerte.

Many of the elements of Santa Muerte (the image and veneration) existed among the indigenous people, it brings European elements and adds Afro-Caribbean popular culture.
Origin of Santa Muerte

Neither scholars nor even devotees have been able to identify the sources and origins precisely. There are many questions that hang in the air and the answers are multiple. Depending on the region, the liturgical practices themselves or the mention of the origin of the cult become uncertain. This ends up bringing a mystery about the cult and increasing speculation.

There are mentions that the skeletal figure dates back to indigenous people in the pre-colonial period. Other sources state that it was born in colonial times, inspired by European cults and mixed with Catholicism. Other sources say it is something much more modern.
What is known about the cult of Saint Death

What we really know is that these popular saints are among the supernatural entities that bring the most comfort to their devotees. They create their liturgies and practices. They firmly believe that the object of worship hears them, responds through supplications and spiritual experiences.

Santa Muerte has built its identity like this: in the arms of the suffering people who need answers from a point of contact that leads to a reality different from the one experienced. Something that protects them, frees them from earthly evils and performs miracles.

The Catholic Church observes it in an ostentatious way and does not recognize the cult of the saint as something official. It is popular religion growing in front of the clergy and it has no power to stop this growth in popular culture.