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Mexico: Worshipping of 'blasphemous' Holy Death saint continues01:23

Mexico: Worshipping of 'blasphemous' Holy Death saint continues

Mexico, Mexico City
June 2, 2013 at 08:25 GMT +00:00 · Published

Mexico: Worshipping of 'blasphemous' Holy Death saint continues

Thousands of worshippers of Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, flooded the streets of Mexico City on Saturday for the once a month festival dedicated to the unofficial saint. Recently the Vatican culture minister, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, commented on the religious festival by calling the saint a blasphemous symbol.

Santa Meurte is also colloquially known as 'La Nina Blanca', the white girl, which has a double meaning in Mexico because it is also a slang term for cocaine. The worshipping of Holy Death is most prevalent in high crime districts torn by drug wars; with policemen, drug dealers, soldiers and criminals known to pray to the saint asking for her protection from death.

The pious venerate Holy Death by carrying shrines of a skeletal cloaked woman holding a scythe. Some purify the figurines with cannabis smoke, light candles in front of her and others crawl towards the shrine of the saint in the centre of Mexico City.

Believer Enriqueta Romero established the Santa Muerte shrine in 2001 and each month devotees volunteer to change the clothes of the Holy Death statue in preparation for the monthly worship.

Although Romero and other worshippers of Holy Death are self-professed Catholics, the Catholic church has declared the adoration of Holy Death forbidden and branded worshippers as part of a cult.

The origin of Holy Death worshipping is unclear. Some experts say that the tradition grew from ancient Mesoamerican beliefs from Aztec and Mayan ancestors that later mixed with Catholic ideas. Santa Muerte has grown in popularity in Central America as well as hispanic dominated districts of major cities in the United States over the last decade.

Mexico: Worshipping of 'blasphemous' Holy Death saint continues01:23
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Mexico: Worshipping of 'blasphemous' Holy Death saint continues

Thousands of worshippers of Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, flooded the streets of Mexico City on Saturday for the once a month festival dedicated to the unofficial saint. Recently the Vatican culture minister, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, commented on the religious festival by calling the saint a blasphemous symbol.

Santa Meurte is also colloquially known as 'La Nina Blanca', the white girl, which has a double meaning in Mexico because it is also a slang term for cocaine. The worshipping of Holy Death is most prevalent in high crime districts torn by drug wars; with policemen, drug dealers, soldiers and criminals known to pray to the saint asking for her protection from death.

The pious venerate Holy Death by carrying shrines of a skeletal cloaked woman holding a scythe. Some purify the figurines with cannabis smoke, light candles in front of her and others crawl towards the shrine of the saint in the centre of Mexico City.

Believer Enriqueta Romero established the Santa Muerte shrine in 2001 and each month devotees volunteer to change the clothes of the Holy Death statue in preparation for the monthly worship.

Although Romero and other worshippers of Holy Death are self-professed Catholics, the Catholic church has declared the adoration of Holy Death forbidden and branded worshippers as part of a cult.

The origin of Holy Death worshipping is unclear. Some experts say that the tradition grew from ancient Mesoamerican beliefs from Aztec and Mayan ancestors that later mixed with Catholic ideas. Santa Muerte has grown in popularity in Central America as well as hispanic dominated districts of major cities in the United States over the last decade.

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