By Ines Amarelo
Mexico City, Oct 31 (EFE).- Believers of Santa Muerte celebrate this virgin Tuesday in the neighborhood of Tepito in Mexico City on the eve of the Day of the Dead, a special date for them where they thanked the figure for its symbolism.
“She never does evil, she does good. (…) I am very grateful, I owe her so much, and to God too,” said Cindy Lopez, 34, a devotee for 14 years who brought a music band to Santa Muerte.
Tepito, located in the historic center of Mexico City, is one of the neighborhoods with the most marked identity in the capital, which mixes a powerful cultural and intellectual history as well as strong social problems such as crime and drug addiction.
Alfareria Street is filled these days with people who go thank Santa Muerte for fulfilling their requests, which range from curing diseases to staying away from the consumption of narcotics, or asking not to be contacted by people they do not want in their lives.
Neighbors proud of the tradition go to the celebration, but also people from other parts of the city and even from other countries.
“In this life a leaf does not move without the will of God, God knows why I am here. (…) It means a lot of peace for me to see so many people with faith,” said Enriqueta, who manages the altar, which turns 22 this year.
Around them lay a frenzy of tobacco and marijuana smoke, firecrackers, praise of Santa Muerte and intermittent showers of tequila.
“The altar will be here until I die, only God knows,” the manager said, adding that she does not ask for anything from Santa Muerte because she alone grants it to her.
Cindy said that thanks to her she escaped a bad path and also from a violent relationship.
“He kept me away from drugs and alcohol, I’ve been clean for five years. (..). and now I am in the process of entering the prison police, I come to ask you to help me pass my exam on Friday,” she said.
The Santa Muerte cult, also known as the “white girl,” has an enigmatic past, further proof of religious syncretism in Mexico.
Enriqueta said the faith in Santa Muerte does not have pre-Hispanic origins, but according to various researchers it dates back to 1795, when the indigenous people worshiped a skeleton in a town in central Mexico.
It was kept secret for almost two centuries and, in Mexico City, the cult began to proliferate in the 1940s, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The emergence of the phenomenon, which claims to have some 5 million faithful worldwide, occurred in the mid-1990s, when devotion moved from homes to the streets.
Now, Santa Muerte is worshiped by people of multiple origins and classes. Her faithful assure that their Saint opens her arms to all people. She is a saint of the people. EFE